PCB appoints two-member panel to assess Covid-19 protocols during PSL 2021
PSL 2021

PCB appoints two-member panel to assess Covid-19 protocols during PSL 2021

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has tasked an independent panel comprising of two infectious disease experts to conduct a holistic review of the safety protocols in place for the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Dr Syed Faisal Mahmood and Dr Salma Muhammad Abbas will present their findings to PCB chairman Ehsan Mani by the end of this month.

Dr Faisal is an Associate Professor, Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, The Aga Khan University while Dr Salma is a Consultant Infectious Diseases and General Medicine with the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre.

The PCB's decision to appoint an independent fact-finding committee is in line with their promise to launch an investigation in the aftermath of the sudden postponement of PSL 2021.

With 20 matches still to go, the league was indefinitely delayed last week after a number of coronavirus cases emerged among the franchises.

The PCB's inefficiency at enforcing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) has been called into question since the deferment as a couple of team owners have criticised the board for not adhering to the safety measures.

Barring the PSL suspension mess, Mani was quick to point out the board's successful hosting of Zimbabwe, South Africa and the domestic season signifying a good track record amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The PCB takes the health and safety of its players, player support personnel and match officials seriously. We have demonstrated our duty of care in the international series against Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as during the nine domestic events in which we successfully staged 220 matches," he said in a statement released by the PCB.

"This included the 34-match National T20 Cup in Multan and Rawalpindi as well as the first and second elevens Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and the Pakistan Cup in Karachi."

It remains to be seen what drastic developments will take place once the panel concludes its investigation. PCB's head of medical and sports sciences Dr Sohail Saleem has already submitted his resignation, marking one of the first casualties from the PSL fallout.

“The independent panel of two distinguished experts has been appointed with the sole purpose of an honest, constructive and objective review," Mani said.

“The independent panel will speak with all the relevant stakeholders, including the event and hotel staff, medical and compliance officers, team players and managements, so that we can get a better understanding of how the cases occurred. The independent panel will make such recommendations as it considers appropriate.”