The PCB has allowed Wahab Riaz and Daren Sammy to reintegrate with the Peshawar Zalmi team without completing the three-day quarantine period, as the board had announced earlier. The pair had been placed in quarantine following a Covid-19 protocol breach – the violation took place when the two met franchise owner Javed Afridi outside the team’s bio-security bubble on Friday. Riaz led the team in their season-opener against Lahore Qalandars on Sunday in Karachi.
Sammy, the coach of the PSL team, and Riaz, the team’s captain, were required to undergo the quarantine as well as return two negative tests, taken 48 hours apart, within that timeframe before being allowed to be with their team-mates, in accordance with the board’s protocols.
A PCB official told ESPNcricinfo that, following the breach on Friday, Covid-19 tests were conducted the same night and then on Saturday, and both sets were negative. The test on Saturday is believed to have been arranged by the franchise itself, rather than the PCB as should have been the case according to tournament protocols.
On the basis of those two negatives, as well as another set of negative tests in the week preceding the start of the season, Peshawar lodged an appeal with the league’s Event Technical Committee to allow the two to be reintegrated. The committee accepted the appeal on Sunday morning.
“A player and an official of the side have been allowed to enter the bio-secure bubble after their side’s appeal was accepted by the Event Technical Committee on Sunday morning. This means the two individuals can now integrate with their side and participate in team activities.
“The ETC had reached the decision after reviewing test results of the three individuals involved in Friday’s bio-secure bubble breach. These results included tests conducted last week as well as fresh tests conducted on Saturday.
“The team has offered its regrets to the PCB on Friday’s breach and has thanked the PSL ETC for accepting their appeal. They have further assured protocols will be followed and respected as everyone wants the PSL to succeed.”
The issue of their reintegration had caused a delay in both Peshawar and Lahore leaving for the National Stadium for the game on Sunday morning. As part of security protocols, both teams travel together in the bus to the ground but their departure on Sunday was held up after the Lahore squad had boarded the bus with no sign of Peshawar. The delay is said to be down to the wait for the ETC’s final decision and it was only after the decision came that Peshawar were ready to travel.
The breach came three days after the PCB had briefed players, support staff and match officials to “religiously follow” all Covid-19 protocols. Each PSL franchise has its own Covid-19 compliance officer, who is responsible for testing, implementation of protocols, sanitisation, and players’ temperature checks. The whole process is bring regulated by the event doctor.
On Saturday, the PCB had said, “The PCB is disappointed that two members of one of the sides showed carelessness and violated the bio-secure bubble protocols by coming into contact with a person who was not part of the bubble. As reiterated previously, the health and safety of all individuals associated with Pakistan Super League 6 is of paramount importance to the PCB and the event.
“All players, player support personnel, match officials and family members are once again reminded to diligently follow the PCB Covid-19 Protocols as the PCB will not allow anyone to affect the integrity and credibility of the tournament.”
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent