West Indies series could be played in ‘normal conditions’ without bio-secure bubble: Ramiz

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PCB chairman Ramiz Raja to meet Indian officials

 

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja hinted on Wednesday at the possibility of rescheduled One-Day Internationals (ODI) against West Indies — which were postponed due to Covid-19 cases in the tourists’ squad during their visit last year — being played in June without strict coronavirus protocols or in a bio-secure bubble.

The three ODIs were originally scheduled to be a part of the West Indies tour to Pakistan last December but were rescheduled after five positive Covid-19 cases, including three players, were reported in the visitors’ team in a day. Consequently, the team had left after playing three Twenty20 Internationals.

Prior to that, another three players from the team had tested positive during the tour. The PCB announced last month that the West Indies would arrive in Pakistan on June 5 to play the postponed ODI matches in Rawalpindi on June 8, 10 and 12.

The PCB chairperson said the matches could be played in “normal conditions”. He, however, acknowledged the risk attached to taking the step.

But, Raja said, the PCB’s medical board was looking into the matter in a different way. “The only problem [that may entail the decision] is that if one player contracts Covid. It (the virus) spreads so rapidly that it would be impossible to call replacements from so faraway (the Caribbean),” he pointed out, adding that “in a seven-day window, one case could impact the entire series”.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” he remarked. But the “information we have received from our medical board shows that things can be a bit relaxed [now] since the virus isn’t that bad anymore,” the PCB chairperson added.

His statement comes after three players from the Australian team, which visited Pakistan after 24 years and concluded the tour yesterday, tested positive for the coronavirus.

Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ramiz Raja has congratulated both Australia and Pakistan cricket teams for producing enthralling, exciting and competitive cricket throughout the 38-day historic tour.

“The three-Test series was combative and engrossing going into the last hour of the 15th day to find a winner, while white-ball cricket confirmed the high billing and calibre of both the sides. The camaraderie and respect demonstrated by the two sides during high-pressure cricket was exemplary and a massive advertisement for our sport,” Mr Ramiz Raja said.

“Players from either side, through their on and off the field behaviour, significantly enhanced the values and spirit of cricket, which is exactly what this great sport is all about.

“After witnessing and experiencing firsthand what this great country has to offer, I am confident the Australia players and officials will take home fond memories and become bigger advocates and goodwill ambassadors for Pakistan than before.

“World cricket is proud and thankful to both sides for the way they played this series and won the hearts and minds of the cricket fans within and outside Pakistan.

There is no doubt Pakistan and world cricket is now better placed than it was before this historic series.

“I would like to place on record my heartfelt thanks to Cricket Australia who made this series possible by sending their best available players, as well as the PCB staff who delivered an outstanding and flawless series at the backend of HBL PSL 7.—Agencies

 

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