KARACHI: The latest edition of the Habib Bank Limited Pakistan Super League 6 (HBL PSL6) had to end in the middle. Due to seven players testing positive for coronavirus despite being within the bio-secure bubble. Everyone involved in the league is upset about it.
Foreign players tweet how good was their short time with the HBL PSL. And how they liked to play cricket in Pakistan, especially Karachi.
Meanwhile, local players were visibly surprised, with some tweeting prayers and others, mainly former cricketers, publicly criticizing the Pakistan Cricket Board. And everyone else involved in managing the HBL PSL6’s bio-secure bubble for their criminal negligence. Later in the day, at a press conference, PCB CEO Wasim Khan said today was a “tough day” for PCBs, stakeholders, and cricket fans.
He said that after the fruitful implementation of two test series. In a National T20 tournament and the Qaid-e-Azam Trophy, the SOPs for PSL 6 were determined. “It was a big deception to us that we were in a position where either we or others could not deliver what we need, which is the full safety of the players,” he said.
Apart from reviewing the whole HBL PSL debacle, former captain and former chief selector Inzamam ul Haq posed a significant point for the PCB to consider in the coming days.
Inzamam said that foreign players hid behind the guise of protection and security before declining the Pakistan tour in the past. The players, however, will have a different objection now that England will be visiting Pakistan for T20Is in October. Just before this year’s World T20.
With the HBL PSL being postponed indefinitely due to a leak in the bio-secure bubble. International players can now opt-out touring Pakistan by blaming the PCB for inadequate bubble management.
Although some were stating the obvious, Inzi’s observation hit the nail on the head. As English players are already withdrawing from tours and matches due to mental exhaustion. With a long and hectic World T20 series coming up, English players will be looking to get out of the bubble and spend time with their families by skipping Pakistan’s short tour.
Many English stars would have come to Pakistan to further cement their places in the World T20 squad. If the HBL PSL6 had gone off without a hitch, particularly about the bio-secure bubble. But now they all have a justification to quit, and the HBL PSL6 bio-secure bubble’s bursting will validate their excuses.
The announcement that they will postpone the HBL PSL6 due to positive coronavirus cases came as a shock to the Pakistani cricket fraternity and all of the country’s fans. Who had flocked to the stadiums to see their favorite players in action? Everyone is clamoring for answers from those in charge of organizing the HBL PSL6, and their concerns are valid.
Pakistan has come a long way in demonstrating that they have the necessary security to host a cricket tournament with international players within the region. Still, now concerns are raising about the PCB’s professionalism.
While the world is still dealing with the pandemic’s consequences. All cricketers and organizers involved should have found it a privilege to play cricket during such a period. However, their casual attitude toward the virus and the PCB’s ineffective policing of the bubble have done more harm to Pakistan cricket than the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus.
There is only one way for the PCB to gain the visiting teams’ confidence in correctly managing a bio-secure bubble. They need to locate the perpetrators and shoot them as soon as possible.
According to reports, the PCB has hired overseas consultants to build and sustain a bio-secure bubble for the upcoming tours. Still, the board needs to understand that whatever happened was due to their incompetence. Not a lack of expertise in the field.
England’s short tour of Pakistan in October is still a long way off, giving the PCB time to make the required changes. And reinforce the professionalism within their ranks so that the next time anyone visits. They won’t be afraid of catching the virus, even though they are in a bio-secure bubble.