ISLAMABAD, PakistanPakistan's cricket authority on Thursday announced that it postponed the ongoing Pakistan Super League tournament after several players tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Following a meeting with team owners, the management of the T20 format cricket tournament said in a statement that the country cricket board decided to postpone the league with immediate effect, adding that the health and wellbeing of all participants was paramount.
The decision came in response to seven infections with the virus reported in the competition, which started on Feb. 20.
"The PCB [Pakistan Cricket Board], as an immediate step, will focus on the safe and secure passage of all participants, and arrange repeat PCR tests, vaccines, and isolation facilities to the six participating sides," the statement further said.
According to the PCB, three players from two different teams tested positive in the past 24 hours.
On Monday, Australian cricketer Fawad Ahmed, who is taking part in the competition, tested positive for coronavirus.
The development came days after the South Asian country lifted almost all coronavirus-related restrictions, even allowing spectators up to 50% capacity in the stadium and to watch the league in full capacity in play-off matches.
Doctors fear that complete relaxation may trigger a third wave of the virus in the cricket-crazy country, which has reported a significant drop in COVID-19 cases in recent months.
In the last 24 hours, Pakistan reported 1,519 news cases, bringing the total caseload to 585,435. Meanwhile, the death toll rose to 13,076 with 63 more fatalities, according to Health Ministry data.
Founded in 2016, the PSL is Pakistan’s premier cricket league and has attracted a good number of foreign cricketers, restoring international cricket in the country, which has gradually returned to Pakistan since 2015, following years of suspension after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in the northeastern city of Lahore in 2009.
Six teams -- Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Quetta Gladiators, Multan Sultan, Lahore Qalandars, and Peshawar Zalmy -- were participating in the sixth PSL edition. Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.