Quetta Gladiators’ fast bowler Naseem Shah will not be part of the touring party to Abu Dhabi for the completion of the remainder of PSL 2021. He has been ruled out of the tournament owing to a protocol breach – of producing a non-compliant RT-PCR Test.
The players who were to fly out from Karachi and Lahore to Abu Dhabi on May 26, had to produce a negative report of a PCR test taken not more than 48 hours prior to their arrival at the team hotel. Naseem however, produced a report that was taken on May 18, upon which he was immediately kept in isolation in a separate floor from the rest of the players in the hotel.
On the advice of the independent Medical Advisory Panel for PSL, a three-member panel decided to release the youngster from isolation and not take him to Abu Dhabi for the tournament.
“The PCB doesn’t take any pride in releasing a young fast bowler from its marquee event but if we will ignore this breach, then we will potentially put at risk the entire event,” Babar Hamid, commercial director and head of PSL said. “We appreciate Quetta Gladiators for accepting this decision as it confirms we are all aligned to strictly following and implementing the protocols.”
With the outbreak of COVID-19 cases during the originally scheduled season in February-March, the PCB had to postpone the tournament. Their initial plan of resuming it within a bio-bubble in Karachi couldn’t materialise because of the growing cases in the city, after which they had to step over a handful of logistical hurdle to get the requisite permissions and exemptions to move it to Abu Dhabi.
In order to avoid another possibility of an outbreak, the PCB came to the conclusion that strict adherence to the preset protocol was necessary with respect to Naseem, in order to send a ‘loud and clear message’ to all involved.
“This decision will also send out a loud and clear message to all involved in the remaining matches that the PCB will not compromise on any violations and will expel the player or player support personnel irrespective of his stature and standing in the game if they are found to be flouting the prescribed protocols or regulations.
“All participating in the tournament must understand that these protocols have been put in place for the health and safety of all involved as well as for the integrity and credibility of the event and the PCB. As such, the onus is on them to ensure these are followed in its true letter and spirit and without exception.”