The England and Wales Cricket Board had summoned back the England Cricket team from the tour of Sri Lanka. The other players who have been playing in the Pakistan Super League have also be asked to return home in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The England team was in Sri Lanka for a two-Test series with the games scheduled at Galle (March 19 to 23) and Colombo (March 23-31). The team was currently engaged in the second warm-up game against the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI (March 12 to 15).
The ECB has, however, asked its team to abandon the tour and return home. ECB in a statement on its official twitter handle has confirmed that the decision has been taken for England players to return to the UK.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic worsening globally, and after discussions with Sri Lanka Cricket, we have today (Friday) made the decision to return our players to the UK and postpone the forthcoming Test series between Sri Lanka and England,” ECB has said in the statement.
“At this time, the physical and mental wellbeing of our players and support team is paramount. We will now look to bring them home to their families as soon as possible. These are completely unprecedented times, and decisions like this go beyond cricket.
“We would like to thank our colleagues at Sri Lanka Cricket for their outstanding support and assistance throughout the situation. We look forward to returning to Sri Lanka in the very near future to fulfill this important Test series.”
So far three Coronavirus infection cases have been confirmed in the island nation.
Several top players from England including Moeen Ali, James Vince, Samit Patel, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, David Malan, Chris Jordan, Jason Roy, Tymal Mills, Tom Banton are taking part in the PSL.
“Every player has a right to return if he wants too. Some players from England have informed their franchises they would like to return home because of the existing situation due to the virus threat,” a Pakistan Cricket Board official said.
The PCB on Thursday took the decision to bar spectators from the remaining PSL matches that are due to be played at the National Stadium in Karachi. The decision came as Karachi and Lahore were playing their match at the NSK on Thursday night in front of a nearly full house.
An official of a franchise that has English players on its list confirmed that the players from England wanted to go back immediately.
“We don’t know when this will happen as the PCB is handling the matter but yes they are going back,” he said.
The Sindh Government today confirmed another positive case of the coronavirus in Karachi.
The media coordinator to the Sindh Health Minister Meeran Yousuf told reporters that Pakistan’s latest Coronavirus case was a secondary contact case and had no recent travel history.
The new case was a 52-year-old male who arrived in Sindh from Islamabad two days ago and tested positive for the virus on Friday, taking the total number of cases in the province to 15 and across the nation to 21.
The coronavirus outbreak, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday, has led to nearly 5000 deaths globally.