As many as 11 players and officials, including the Quetta Gladiators captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, were denied permission to board commercial flights for Abu Dhabi, where the remainder of the PSL 2021 will be hosted, via Doha on Sunday morning.
These people didn’t have the required clearances to board the flights, as per restrictions in place on travellers to the UAE amid the pandemic.
Later the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced that these members will be re-routed through Bahrain to Abu Dhabi.
Only 5 persons from the PSL contingent were cleared to fly, while the others had to return to their hotels where they have been in quarantine since May 24.
Later in the night, PCB announced that 13 players quarantining at their hotels in Lahore have been permitted to return to their homes in Pakistan, with the board deciding to fly them to Abu Dhabi on commercial instead of chartered flights, themselves flouting the quarantine protocols already.
In all, 202 players, support staff, and tournament officials from Pakistan – from Karachi and Lahore – were flown over on a special chartered flight on May 27 to the UAE capitals. Overall, over 270 personnel – both Pakistani and overseas – are in Abu Dhabi and have already started quarantine, before entering the tournament’s bio-bubble.
The tournament was earlier scheduled to resume on June 2, then pushed to June 5, and now seems may be pushed back further. This poses a massive challenge for the PCB to complete the season – 20 matches out of 34 remain to be played – quickly as the Pakistan team is set to fly to England on June 22 for their white-ball matches.
Sarfaraz Ahmed upset after being stranded at the airport
Sarfaraz Ahmed, the former Pakistan captain, is reported to be upset after being left stranded at the airport. He expressed his disappointment to the PCB officials over the same matter.
Nadeem Omar, the Quetta Gladiators owner, said that this incident showed the incompetence of PCB, but refrained from staging a major protest in order to avoid bringing the league into disrepute
The league was halted in early March following an outbreak of the covid-19 in players and staff members. The Karachi Kings lead the points table, while Sarfaraz Ahmed’s Quetta languishes at the bottom with just 1 victory in 5 matches.