PSL 6: Shahid Afridi and Naseem Shah to miss tournament
Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi will not play any part in the remainder of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 6 after being sidelined with a lower-back injury. The Multan Sultans franchise announced he felt pain in his lower back while training for the resumption of the league. Meanwhile, young Pakistan pacer Naseem Shah was released following a breach of COVID-19 protocols. Here's more.
Afridi was training in Karachi for the upcoming PSL matches when he experienced pain in his lower back following which he was examined by a doctor who has advised him complete rest. Afridi, who appeared in Sultans' four Karachi-leg matches, has been replaced by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's left-arm-spinner Asif Afridi. This comes as a blow for Sultans, who are fifth this season (W1 L4).
Shahid Afridi has participated in 50 PSL matches throughout his career. He has claimed 44 wickets at 25.61. Afridi is the second-highest wicket-taker among spinners. The veteran T20 ace has also scored 465 runs at a strike rate in excess of 150 in a career that has also seen him represent the likes of Peshawar Zalmi and the Karachi Kings.
Naseem arrived at the tournament hotel in Lahore with a negative COVID-19 test, but from a non-compliant PCR test. As a result, the right-arm pacer will not travel to Abu Dhabi with the rest of the Quetta Gladiators contingent, ruling him out of the competition.
The PCB's protocols require all the players traveling to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday to present a negative test taken not more than 48 hours prior to arrival at the team hotel. The 18-year-old Shah presented a report on Monday from a test that was conducted on May 18. The PCB said it immediately placed Shah into isolation on a separate floor.
The decision regarding Shah was made by a three-member committee on the recommendation of the independent medical advisory panel of the PSL. "The PCB doesn't take any pride in releasing a young fast bowler from its marquee event, but if we will ignore this breach, then we will potentially put at risk the entire event," said PCB's director commercial Babar Hamid in a statement.
On May 20, the PCB confirmed that the remainder of the PSL season 6 will be held in the UAE. Abu Dhabi will be hosting the remaining games after getting all the "approvals and exemptions" required to stage the competition. Earlier, the PCB had suspended the sixth edition in March after seven individuals, including six players, tested positive for COVID-19 in Karachi.
"We are delighted with this development as the remaining hurdles in the staging of the remaining HBL PSL 6 matches in Abu Dhabi have been overcome and all systems are now good to go," Wasim Khan, the PCB chief executive, had said in a statement.