Kolkata: Pakistan Super League (PSL) cracked down on two players of Peshawar Zalmi, one of the finalists, for breaching the bio-secure bubble in Abu Dhabi and they will miss the final against Multan Sultans later on Thursday evening.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said the incident occurred on Wednesday and the decision to suspend Zalmi batsman Haider Ali and fast bowler Umaid Asif was made by the tournament’s COVID-19 management panel hours before the final. Ali, a Pakistan international, will have a heavy price to pay as the PCB have also withdrawn the middle-order batsman from the upcoming tours of England and the West Indies.
‘‘They admitted to charges of violating the health and safety protocols by meeting people from outside their designated bio-secure bubble and also failing to maintain the prescribed social distancing,’’ the said the PCB, which adopted a zero tolerance policy about compliance after being cancel the Pakistan leg of the tournament in March.
Both cricketers didn’t interact with any other squad member at any time after the incident and have been placed in isolation.
Multan’s middle-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood has replaced Ali in the Pakistan squad for the tours of England and the West Indies after chief selector Mohammad Wasim consulted both head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam.
Maqsood has been in prolific form in the PSL, scoring 363 runs in 11 matches at an average of 40.33 and a healthy strike rate of 153. He has played 26 ODIs and 20 Twenty20s for Pakistan but had been out of favour since his last Twenty20 against New Zealand at Hamilton in 2016.
Meanwhile, Wahab Riaz, the Zalmi skipper and senior Pakistan paceman has praised Afghan cricketer Hazratullah Zazai, who had been in exceptional form during the ongoing PSL VI.
Riaz highlighted the importance of Zazai being instrumental during the powerplay stages for his side. ‘‘Zazai has been exceptional so far. He played in a very responsible manner against Islamabad United and took his time out there in the middle. He took us close to finishing line, which was great to see,” said Riaz.
“It is very important to win powerplays in T20 cricket and Zazai has done that very successfully for us,” he said in an interview.