Bubble in Karachi wasn’t secure and not well maintained, reveals an overseas player after PSL’s postponement

Pakistan Super League 2021 Pakistan Super League T20.

Gaddafi Stadium (Source: Twitter)

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently announced the postponement of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 after a spate of Covid-19 positive cases among players and staff. The PCB announced the decision on Thursday last week after an emergency meeting between the franchises. Prior to that, a total of seven individuals tested positive. Six of those seven individuals were players while the other was a member of the support staff of one of the teams.

The postponement came as a big shock for the cricket fraternity. No other major tournament was postponed before since high-profile cricket started in July last year. The likes of CPL, IPL, BBL as well as Lanka Premier League were conducted smoothly. With the exception of the ODI series between South Africa and England, the bilateral series have been also going well so far.

Unsurprisingly, questions are being raised over the entire management of the bio-bubble in Pakistan. As far as PCB are concerned, they are yet to comment on the recent events. And while an official word from the PCB is being expected, an overseas player has given some insight into life inside the bio-secure environment.

A lot of the players and officials from the teams were mixing

The unnamed player has revealed that the bio-bubble was not as safe as it should have been. The players and other participants of the tournament were staying in the same hotel as ordinary guests. And there was a very little arrangement to ensure that the PSL participants remain at a safe distance from the other guests.

The player stated that while the security personnel were working hard to keep the PSL participants away and it was a tough task for them to recognise everyone.

“The security personnel tried their best to spot who were players and officials taking part in the PSL and they would try to make sure you were kept away from everyone else staying at the hotel, but that must have been extremely difficult for them because obviously, they couldn’t recognise everyone who was involved in the PSL and who were members of the public,” the player told PakPassion.net.

“In my case, I went downstairs at the hotel to go and use the gym facilities. I had my mask on, walked right through reception and straight into the gym which only took a few seconds. From my side, I was adhering to the protocols, but I could see that there were people milling around in the lobby who were clearly not part of any of the PSL bubbles,” he added.

Strangers mingling with players and others in the hotel was not the only problem. The player further revealed that the members of respective squads were not following the protocols either. He said that the members were sitting and dining together in the bio-bubble. He also stated that the COVID-19 testing was a regular affair during the competition.

“I only went downstairs for breakfast once and saw that a lot of the players and officials from the teams were mixing and I didn’t feel comfortable with that at all. After seeing what was going on, I thought to myself, ‘never again’ and I didn’t go downstairs in future for breakfast, instead I just ordered it into my room,” he said.

“The testing was regular. I was tested four times during my stay in Pakistan. I was tested twice during quarantine and then two more times before the tournament was brought to an end,” he added.

‘Bubble in Karachi was not secure’

Speaking further, the player opined that the bio-bubble in Karachi was not safe and not well maintained either. He insisted that the bio-bubble had too many risk elements. He also alleged that some people involved in the PSL didn’t take the rules and regulations seriously.

“I wasn’t nervous about what was happening out there despite the bubble not being secure and even when there were some positive tests. Having been around bubbles for the past year, I can definitely say that the bubble in Karachi was not secure and not well maintained and there were too many risks which there shouldn’t have been.

“There are risks in every bubble, but there were far too many risks in the one at the Pakistan Super League. I’ve lived with COVID guidelines in the past year or so and I have taken precautions and the bubble guidelines very seriously. I have kept away from risks, abided by the rules, and taken them very seriously. Perhaps some people involved in the tournament weren’t taking the rules and regulations as seriously as others,” he said.

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