Thursday Dec 16 2021

Pak vs WI: 'No breach of biosecure bubble at all,' PCB says after ODI series put off

A file photo of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) building.
A file photo of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) building.

  • Pakistan-West Indies ODI series postponed to early June.
  • Series was put off after COVID-19 outbreak in Windies camp.
  • PCB official says players might have caught virus during transit.

KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Operating Office Salman Naseer on Thursday stressed there was no breach of the biosecure bubble after the COVID-19 outbreak in the West Indies camp led to the postponement of the ODI series.

The PCB has said that the decision to postpone the ODI series — scheduled from Dec 18-22 — was made on the basis of players' welfare and the fact that the touring side was left with very limited options after six of the players tested positive for COVID-19.

“There’s no breach of the biosecure bubble at all,” he said, while speaking to reporters in Karachi, where the entire tour was scheduled to be staged.

The third and final match of the T20I series was hanging in the balance after the Windies' players tested positive for COVID-19, but later it resumed as the fresh round of tests came back negative.

“We can’t say firmly where the players caught the virus but it seems that they caught it somewhere during travel, maybe during the transit at Dubai,” he said.

Extra cautious for PSL 

Naseer said the protocols in place for the series are of international standard and were agreed upon by medical teams from both sides. The CEO said that the recent experience has made PCB extra cautious for the upcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL).

“There will be players coming from different countries, from different flights. So we will have to be extra cautious,” he said.

“We are looking to book the entire hotel during the PSL and disconnect the staff and everyone at the hotel from outside,” he added.

Additional T20Is

The CEO said the West Indies have also agreed to play additional T20Is with Pakistan in addition to the rescheduled ODIs in June. The T20Is will be played at a later date.

“It was a difficult last week for all of us, and especially the last 24 hours were extremely difficult. We remained in constant touch with CWI after receiving reports of more COVID tests in the West Indies camp,” he said.

“It was almost impossible for West Indies to field 11 players in ODIs after six of their players tested positive for COVID and one player was ruled out due to injury. That’s we why agreed to reschedule the ODIs for June 2022,” Naseer said.

He added that the West Indies cricketers were also under the fear that any further positive cases would dent their Christmas plans back home.

The PCB CEO said that the third T20I in Karachi was played after consultation with medical teams as they felt that there is less likelihood of players catching the virus in an open area.