Afridi, Naseem out of PSL

KARACHI/LAHORE: Star all-rounder Shahid Afridi and young pace sensation Naseem Shah will be unable to compete in the HBL Pakistan Super League VI’s Abu Dhabi phase.

While Afridi was injured during training, Naseem was disqualified after presenting an old Covid-19 test report. Afridi, a member of the Multan Sultans, was training in Karachi when he felt pain in his lower back. He was examined by a doctor, who advised him to rest completely.

Naseem, who was scheduled to play for the Quetta Gladiators, was released from isolation in Lahore after violating Pakistani departure protocols by arriving at the designated hotel with a non-compliant RT-PCR test result. As a result, the fast bowler will not travel to Abu Dhabi on May 26 and is out of the competition.

Afridi, who played in all four of the Sultans’ Karachi leg matches, has been replaced by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s left-arm spinner Asif Afridi, who will join the Sultans squad in Abu Dhabi.

“While training for the remainder of the HBL Pakistan Super League 6, I felt lower back pain and had to consult a doctor,” Afridi explained. Unfortunately, I have been advised to rest and will be unable to join my team Multan Sultans for the Abu Dhabi leg. I am disappointed that I will be missing the tournament, but my best wishes, support, and prayers are with the team as they compete for the trophy.”

Naseem, on the other hand, presented a PCR report from a May 18 test. After submitting the report, he was placed in isolation on a different floor before being released. A three-member panel made the decision based on the recommendation of the independent Medical Advisory Panel for PSL.

According to the Covid-19 protocols for the remaining HBL Pakistan Super League 6 matches, all those traveling via chartered flights from Karachi and Lahore were directed to report to the team hotels in Karachi and Lahore on May 24 with negative results of PCR tests taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival.

“The PCB does not take any pride in releasing a young fast bowler from its marquee event, but if we ignore this breach, we could potentially jeopardize the entire event,” said Babar Hamid, Director – Commercial and head of HBL PSL 6. We appreciate Quetta Gladiators’ willingness to accept this decision.

“This decision will also send a loud and clear message to all involved in the remaining matches that the PCB will not tolerate any violations and will expel the player or player support personnel, regardless of his or her stature or standing in the game, if they are found to be flouting the prescribed protocols or regulations.

“All participants in the tournament must understand that these protocols have been put in place for the health and safety of all involved, as well as for the events and the PCB’s integrity and credibility,” he added.

Islamabad United, meanwhile, has signed left-handed batsman Umar Amin and West Indies opener Brandon King. With the latest additions, they now have a full 20-man squad. Peshawar Zalmi have added Afghanistan’s Hazratullah Zazai as a reserve player, along with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Sameen Gul and Khalid Usman.

Zainab Murtaza

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