Multan Sultans all-rounder Shahid Afridi has been left disappointed with PCB’s awry handling of the Covid outbreak in the PSL and feels postponement of the tournament sends a wrong message to the world. The PSL, after multiple personnel tested positive, was indefinitely postponed by the PCB.
The 2021 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) kicked off in grand fashion, with multiple players putting up several stellar individual performances, but the competition was rocked by a Covid outbreak in week two. Australia’s Fawad Ahmed testing positive - after entering the bubble - forced a one-day-halt, but things soon went south in no time after close to half-a-dozen players and support staff contracted the virus. The PCB, as a result, brought the tournament to an abrupt halt and announced that they would restart it at a later window, which is now believed to be June.
Many have opined that PCB did the sensible thing by postponing the competition, but Shahid Afridi has been left disappointed by the board’s actions. Afridi, speaking at a function in Lahore, commented that it was unfortunate that the PCB did not have a ‘Plan B’ to tackle to Covid crisis.
“The PSL is a very big brand of Pakistan and Pakistan cricket and it is unfortunate that the PCB didn’t appear to have a plan B for this important event,” Afridi was quoted as saying by Sportstar.
It has only been just over a year since international cricket has returned to Pakistan, but the bio-bubble in PSL getting compromised has elicited fears among several ex-cricketers, who feel that this incident might once again force touring parties to think twice before deciding to play cricket in Pakistan. Afridi echoed the same sentiment and attested that the postponement ‘sends a wrong message’.
“But it appears they didn’t have a plan B when the COVID-19 cases were detected among some players and officials and this is surprising to me. The postponement didn’t send out a good message.”
Nadeem Omar, owner of Quetta Gladiators franchise, meanwhile, claimed that he feels that the PCB are ‘90% responsible’ for the goof-up as, according to him, it was the board’s responsibility to ensure that the bubble was fool-proof.
“I think the PCB is 90 per cent responsible for the faults in the bio-secure bubble created for the tournament which eventually led to the postponement of the PSL,” Omar said.