LAHORE-The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday postponed the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 with immediate effect and the two semifinals and the final will be rescheduled for a later date.

This decision was taken after a player, who had left Pakistan a few days ago, showed symptoms of COVID-19 and he will undergo screening shortly. The PCB, as part of its duty of care, has made arrangements for all the players and support staff of the four semifinalists, match officials, franchise owners and production crew to undergo precautionary tests and has strongly advised them to wait for the results prior to undertaking any travel.

While speaking at the press briefing here at Gaddafi Stadium, PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: “This is absolutely the right thing to do after an overseas player, who will be tested in his country shortly, has shown symptoms of COVID-19. The PCB has also facilitated the process of carrying out immediate tests of all those who were involved with the Pakistan Super League.

“This is an unprecedented situation, which is evolving with each passing day. The PCB has closely monitored the situation and had taken precautionary measures including consultation with relevant authorities and temperature screening of players, officials and media on match and non-match days,” he added.

“The PCB believes it has made the right decisions in the lead up to the postponement of the tournament that included consulting the team owners, holding the matches behind closed doors, allowing the players the option to withdraw from the tournament, rescheduling of the matches and reducing the number of event days. “Obviously before postponing the tournament, we took into confidence the team owners,” the PCB CEO asserted.

“The PCB will use its reach and influence to play its part in all government’s drives and initiatives to create awareness and dealing with this pandemic. The PCB hopes and prays that normalcy returns quickly to our society so that everyone can return to a healthy and routine lifestyle and we can bring back cricket to the fans,” Wasim Khan concluded. The PCB has also suspended its all domestic competitions and cricket activities.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan captain and commentator Ramiz Raja said on Twitter that opening batsman Alex Hales had ‘quarantined himself’ but the Englishman released a statement later saying he developed symptoms only after returning to the United Kingdom. “I returned to the UK in the early hours of Saturday morning feeling perfectly fit and healthy and with absolutely no symptoms of the virus,” Hales said in a statement.

“However, I awoke early on Sunday morning having developed a fever and followed the government’s advice on self-isolation, a process I am obviously still following having developed a dry and persistent cough. “At this stage, it has not been possible to be tested, although I am hopeful that might be the case later today so that I can get absolute confirmation of my current health status,” Hales added. “Sad to see the PSL end, but health and safety of all concerned is the key...” Multan’s Shahid Afridi tweeted.