LAHORE: The Pakistan Super League (PSL) was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic hours before the semi-final matches were due to start in Lahore on Tuesday.
The franchise-based Twenty20 competition had been shortened by four days last week and a number of foreign players left before the semi-finals.”HBL PSL 2020 postponed, to be rescheduled. More details to follow in due course,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a Tweet.
Multan were to face Peshawar in the first semi-final at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium followed by the second match between Karachi and Lahore. The final was scheduled for the same venue on Wednesday.
Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Executive Officer Wasim Khan on Tuesday said that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 has been postponed indefinitely after a foreign player who had left last week displayed symptoms of the coronavirus.
He made these remarks at a press conference with other PCB officials in Lahore.
At least 14 foreign players had decided to return to their own countries after the PCB last week gave them the option to leave amid coronavirus fears.
Adding that the player’s name would not be revealed to maintain privacy, Khan said that players from all the teams, the broadcasters and everyone else associated with the tournament would be tested for the virus.
Responding to a question he said that the Karachi Kings team had reservations about playing in the tournament and the decision was then made after consulting all the franchises.
The PCB chief added that the semi-final and final matches would be rescheduled before the next season of the PSL.
“We have been following the government’s advice [in the matter]. First, we took the decision to play matches in empty stadiums, then we gave players the option to leave, then we reduced the number of matches, we took 2-3 measures […] but after this suspected case, we made this decsion.”
Responding to a question about future cricket plans, Khan said that “nobody is playing cricket internationally […] it is a pandemic situation. Safety comes first, cricket comes second.”
A statement from the PCB said that the cricketing body would use its “reach and influence to play its part in all government’s drives and initiatives to create awareness and deal with this pandemic”.
The last leg of Bangladesh’s tour of Pakistan, which involved a test match and a one-day international in Karachi next month, was postponed on Monday. “Sad to see the PSL end, but health and safety of all concerned is the key…” tweeted Multan’s Shahid Afridi.
The PSL postponement followed Pakistan’s decision to suspend all domestic soccer because of the coronavirus outbreak which has shut down sport around the world and killed more than 7,000 people.