Quetta Gladiators’ fast-bowler Naseem Shah won’t be a part of the touring party to Abu Dhabi for the completion of the rest of PSL 2021. He has been ruled out of the tournament due to a protocol breach – of manufacturing 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 supply a negative report of a PCR test taken less than 48 hours before 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 during a separate floor from the remainder of the players within the hotel.
On the recommendation 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’ll ignore this breach, then we’ll potentially put in danger the whole event,” Babar Hamid, commercial director and head of PSL said. “We appreciate Quetta Gladiators for accepting this decision because 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 materialize due to the growing cases within the city, after which that they had to step over a couple of logistical hurdles to urge the requisite permissions and exemptions to maneuver it to Abu Dhabi.
To avoid another possibility of an epidemic, the PCB concluded that strict adherence to the preset protocol was necessary concerning Naseem, to send a ‘loud and clear message to all or any involved.
“This decision also will send a loud and clear message to all or any involved within the remaining matches that the PCB won’t compromise on any violations and can expel the player or player support personnel regardless of his stature and standing within the game if they’re found to be flouting the prescribed protocols or regulations.
“All participating within the tournament must understand that these protocols are put in situ for the health and safety of all involved also as for the integrity and credibility of the event and therefore the PCB. As such, the onus is on them to make sure these are followed in its true letter and spirit and without exception.”