The Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 had to be postponed on Thursday (March 4) last week after the emergence of multiple Covid-19 positive cases among the players and staff.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) took the decision after emergency meetings and discussions involving all six PSL franchises. As many as 7 individuals had been tested positive, including six players and one support staff personnel.
The postponement of PSL was a shock to the cricketing world, keeping in mind the number of other high-profile events that have gone unscathed since the on-field play resumed after a lengthy hiatus last July. Those events being the CPL, IPL, BBL, LPL besides various international matches, barring the bilateral ODI series between England and South Africa.
Much has been speculated on the matter, especially about the management of the bio-secure bubble employed for the PSL 2021. The PCB is yet to make an official statement on the issue but before that, an overseas player involved in the league has given an insight into how the PSL bubble was compromised.
Ordinary guests could mingle with PSL players and officials in team hotel
The unnamed player said the security within the bubble wasn’t tight enough as players and other participants were staying in the same hotel as ordinary guests. He added that there weren’t enough arrangements to ensure that the guests maintained a distance from the players.
“The security personnel tried their best to spot who were players and officials taking part in the PSL and they would try to make sure you were kept away from everyone else staying at the hotel, but that must have been extremely difficult for them because obviously, they couldn’t recognise everyone who was involved in the PSL and who were members of the public,” the player told PakPassion.net.
Players of respective PSL squads weren’t following the protocols
The unnamed player further said that players from respective PSL squads weren’t following the Covid-19 protocols seriously. He stated they were dining and sitting together in the bubble, although there was a procedure for regular testing in place.
“I only went downstairs for breakfast once and saw that a lot of the players and officials from the teams were mixing and I didn’t feel comfortable with that at all. After seeing what was going on, I thought to myself, ‘never again’ and I didn’t go downstairs in future for breakfast, instead I just ordered it into my room,” he said.
“The testing was regular. I was tested four times during my stay in Pakistan. I was tested twice during quarantine and then two more times before the tournament was brought to an end.”
PSL bubble in Karachi wasn’t secure
The player also mentioned that the PSL bubble in Karachi wasn’t secured and not well maintained.
“I wasn’t nervous about what was happening out there despite the bubble not being secure and even when there were some positive tests. Having been around bubbles for the past year, I can definitely say that the bubble in Karachi was not secure and not well maintained and there were too many risks which there shouldn’t have been,” he said.
“There are risks in every bubble, but there were far too many risks in the one at the Pakistan Super League. I’ve lived with COVID guidelines in the past year or so and I have taken precautions and the bubble guidelines very seriously. I have kept away from risks, abided by the rules, and taken them very seriously. Perhaps some people involved in the tournament weren’t taking the rules and regulations as seriously as others,” the player added.