In the wake of Pakistan players being found guilty of breaching Covid-19 protocols, the New Zealand government have issued a ‘stay disciplined or go back home’ ultimatum to the Babar Azam-led squad. PCB CEO Wasim Khan has confirmed that one more breach will result in the tour getting cancelled.
Earlier this week, it was confirmed that no less than six Pakistan players tested positive for Covid-19, upon landing in New Zealand, but in what put the visitors in a bad light, it was learnt that multiple players breached Covid-19 protocols. The carelessness of the visiting players has now come back to haunt the entire nation of Pakistan as the Babar Azam-led side, as confirmed by PCB CEO Wasim Khan, has been warned by the New Zealand government that one more breach will result in the deportation of the entire travelling party.
As revealed by ESPNCricinfo, Khan informed the Pakistan players in a Whatsapp voice note that they were one more breach away from being sent back home, and pleaded with the players to stay disciplined. The PCB CEO further told the players that the pride of the entire nation was at stake.
"Boys, I spoke to the New Zealand government and they told us there were three or four breaches of protocols," Wasim Khan said in the voice note, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
"They have a zero-tolerance policy and they've given us a final warning. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, and you went through similar conditions in England. It's not easy. But this is a matter of the nation's respect and credibility. Observe these 14 days and then you'll have the freedom to go to restaurants and roam about freely. They have told me in clear terms that if we commit one more breach, they'll send us home."
As revealed by Dr Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand's director-general of health, it is believed that multiple Pakistan players were found breaking quarantine rules, roaming from room to room and sharing food despite being clearly instructed to observe self-isolation.
"Rather than being in their own rooms which is the requirement for the first three days until that first test comes back, there was some mingling in the hallways, chatting, sharing food and not wearing masks which was obvious on the CCTV footage,” Cricbuzz quoted Dr Ashley Bloomfield as saying.
"I don't know how many times they did that, but it only needs once for us to take a dim view of it. These players signed up to the arrangements in an undertaking that made what was expected of them very clear. At the moment, they are all required to be in their rooms, which was the requirement anyway. The training exemption would not have kicked in until after we had the results of the day-three testing, if we were happy with the results."
Bloomfield also admitted that there exists a fear that the callousness of the tourists might result in more positive results, which, if there are any, will be unravelled in the next round of testing.
"At least four of those are acute infections and the others may be historical ones, but that's being confirmed. The fact that these infections were found when they were tested on arrival in the country suggests that there may well be others that we uncover during that day three testing.
Pakistan are slated to play three T20Is and two Tests versus hosts New Zealand, starting December 18.