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17 Oct 2020 | 02:33 AM
9 players, 3 officials breach bio-bubble in Pakistan's T20 competition
The PCB said any player or official breaking the bio-bubble in future will face immediate expulsion from the tournament

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said as many as nine players, including a few from the national team, and three officials breached its bio-secure bubble during the ongoing National T20 Cup in Rawalpindi.

Furious at the violation of its COVID-19 protocols at a hotel in Rawalpindi, the PCB said any player or official breaking the bio-bubble in future will face immediate expulsion from the tournament.

The PCB didn't name the players but according to media reports, the violators include Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurrum Manzoor, Muhammad Hafeez, Rashid Khan, Basit Ali, Kamran Akmal, Sohail Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Anwar Ali, Yasir Shah and Usman Shinwari.

PCB's director of high performance centre, Nadeem Khan, called it "completely unacceptable".

"The PCB is disturbed and disappointed that some senior players and officials have breached the bio-secure bubble during the National T20 Cup. In doing so, they have put at risk the integrity of the tournament and health and safety of their colleagues."

"This is completely unacceptable to the PCB and following meetings with the concerned players and their team officials, it has been agreed there will be zero-tolerance for future breaches and those violating the protocols will be expelled from the ongoing and future tournaments."

He said the players and officials must show responsibility as the world is watching and international cricket is "standing at our doorsteps".

Their irresponsible actions can jeopardise all the efforts of the PCB in organising events and inviting teams during these challenging times.

COVID tests were performed on the nine players but their reports returned negative.

The 12 individuals took care of the expenses incurred in conducting the tests, besides receiving warnings.

Not easy to be in bio-bubbles, could affect mental health: Waqar Younis

Meanwhile, Pakistan's bowling coach and former captain Waqar Younis is concerned about the mental health of players as they endure isolating bio-secure bubbles to play cricket internationally or domestically in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Waqar said that he is worried that players in Pakistan might face mental health issues if cricket continued to be played for more time in the COVID-19 situation.

"It is not easy for players or officials to spend so much time in the bio-secure conditions and it could eventually affect their mental health," he warned.

Players, while competing, are being completely isolated from their surroundings in bio-bubbles to negate the risk of infection.

The former fast bowling great said that he could understand the changed situation due to the pandemic but insisted that cricket boards need to seriously look at the mental health aspect as well while organising matches.

"This is an issue that is not just about Pakistan cricket but concerns the entire cricket world."

He pointed out that recently some bilateral tours had not come off because of disagreements between boards over the quarantine and isolation periods for players and support staff.

"It is difficult for players and support staff to spend days and weeks at end in a restricted environment. The tour to England was a learning curve for us in this regard and that is why I am concerned about the future," he said.

"I just hope that the COVID-19 situation does not continue for a long time," he added.

Waqar also felt that any player opting out of matches or tours because of COVID-19 restrictions should not be disrespected.

He cited the example of Pakistani batsman, Haris Sohail who had opted out of the tour to England for the same reason.

"If was his decision and one we have to respect because he is an established Test player for us," he said.

PakistanNational T20 Cup, 2020
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