The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday (March 3) said it has decided to offer COVID-19 vaccine doses to all participants of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021. “Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to offer SARS-Coronavirus Vaccine doses to all participants of the Pakistan Super League 6, becoming the first cricket board to use the vaccine that produces protection against the Covid-19 virus,” PCB said in a statement.
“The decision has been made in the line with the PCB’s duty of care policy and to ensure all participants of the league remain safe and healthy during the event, which concludes on 22 March,” it added.
PCB said the vaccine doses will be administered on Thursday (March 4) and will be offered to all those inside the bio-secure bubble. England’s Tom Banton was the latest foreign cricketer to test positive for COVID-19 in PSL 2021. Apart from Banton, Pakistan-born Australian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed and two other foreign cricketers have tested positive raising question about effectiveness of Pakistan bio-bubble for their T20 league.
However, it will solely be the players and officials’ decision if they want to get the vaccine shots, the board said. PCB said it has been in discussions with the federal and provincial government officials, highlighting the national cricket teams’ international engagements and commitments as well as the significance, reputation, integrity and credibility of the PSL 6.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan, in a statement, said: “The PCB takes health, safety and wellbeing of its players and officials very seriously. In line with our duty of care policy, we have acquired a small allocation of SARS-Coronavirus Vaccine, which will be offered to all those inside the bio-secure environment created for the Pakistan Super League 6.”
The vaccinations will be administered on Thursday morning by qualified health workers, strictly in line with government protocols. “While we live in these challenging times, the vaccine has been sourced to provide an added level of protection and comfort for players and all personnel inside the bubble. We will continue to operate responsibly in our duty to those involved in the tournament,” Khan added.
Since Monday and apart from the rapid tests, a total of 244 PCR tests were conducted which resulted in three positive tests. These individuals, including two foreign players and a local player support personnel, were quarantined on a separate floor of the team hotel. Banton revealed on Wednesday that he tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday and is now in isolation.
“Thanks a lot for all the messages and well wishes. Unfortunately, I received a positive Covid-19 test yesterday and I am now isolating and following the PSL protocols,” Banton said in a statement on Twitter.
“Fortunately I am feeling OK so far and I have been well looked after by the PCB and Quetta Gladiators. Thanks for the support, look after yourselves and stay safe,” he added.
(with ANI inputs)