Naseem Shah, the fast bowler for the Quetta Gladiators, will not be part of the touring party to Abu Dhabi for the remainder of the PSL 2021 season. Due to a protocol violation involving the development of a non-compliant RT-PCR Test, he has been ruled out of the tournament.
The players who were scheduled to travel out of Karachi and Lahore to Abu Dhabi on May 26 had to present a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours of their arrival at the team hotel. Naseem, on the other hand, produced a report dated May 18 and was promptly placed in isolation on a different floor from the rest of the hotel’s game.
A three-member council voted to free the youngster from isolation and not send him to Abu Dhabi for the tournament, based on the recommendation of the PSL’s independent Medical Advisory Panel.
“The PCB takes no joy in releasing a young fast bowler from its flagship case, but if we neglect this violation, the whole event could be jeopardised,” Babar Hamid, commercial director and head of the PSL, said. “We thank Quetta Gladiators welcoming this decision because it confirms that we are all committed to observing and applying the protocols to the letter.”
The PCB had to cancel the tournament due to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases during the initially planned season in February-March. Their original idea of restarting it in a bio-bubble in Karachi fell through due to the city’s growing number of cases, so they had to overcome a number of logistical challenges to get the required permits and approvals to relocate it to Abu Dhabi.
To prevent another outbreak, the PCB determined that strict adherence to the established protocol was required in the case of Naseem in order to give a “loud and clear message” to all parties concerned.
“This decision would also give a loud and direct message to those participating in the remaining matches that the PCB will not hesitate on any breaches and will eject any player or player support staff found to be flouting the specified procedures or rules, regardless of their stature or standing in the league.”
“The tournament participants must recognise that these guidelines have been implemented for the health and wellbeing of all participants, as well as the event’s and PCB’s dignity and prestige.” As such, the onus is on them to ensure these are followed in its true letter and spirit and without exception.”