International Cricketers to Leave Pakistan Super League in Wake of Coronavirus Pandemic

Karachi Kings’ Babar Azam plays a shot against Peshawar Zalmi during their PSL match at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Monday. Agence France-Presse

Karachi Kings’ Babar Azam plays a shot against Peshawar Zalmi during their PSL match at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Monday. Agence France-Presse

As per Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), all teams will be allowed to bring in local players as replacements for foreign players.

Eight English players have left the Pakistan Super League early in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a press release by the cricketing body, the playoff match has been replaced by the semi-finals, which will be held in Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium on March 17; one at 2pm and the second at 7pm. The likes of Alex Hales (Karachi Kings), Rilee Rossouw and James Vince (Multan Sultans), Tom Banton, Carlos Brathwaite, Liam Dawson, Lewis Gregory and Liam Livingstone (Peshawar Zalmi), Jason Roy and Tymal Mills (Quetta Gladiators), Colin Munro, Dale Steyn, Dawid Malan and Luke Ronchi (Islamabad United), have left the tournament.

The team which finishes top of the league will play against that which finishes fourth, with the second and third-placed teams contesting the other semi-final. The ODI series between South Africa and hosts India has also been cancelled half way through while the India Premier League T20 is now to raise curtain on April 15 instead of March 29.

The final will be played on March 18 at 7:00 pm.

"As of now it is important to emphasise and clarify that the main concern of numerous 10 players and coach (who are returning home) revolves around avoiding a potential situation where they might become stranded due to flight cancellations or border closures in their own countries", he said.

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The decision was taken after a conference call with the team owners on Friday.

With this many players pulling out, the PCB has given the go-ahead to the franchises to seek replacements. "We hope that Pakistan Cricket Board will soon make a decision [on Bangladesh's tour]", said Nizamuddin.

The decision comes hours after Pakistan's coronavirus count reached 21, with a majority of those cases being reported in Sindh.

The PCB said the league will move from Karachi to Lahore for the semifinals and final.

In a tweet, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, the special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, said that Khan chairing a meeting with provincial chief ministers, which will be attended by civil and military leaders.

Wasim said it was important to ensure that public well-being is not compromised.

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