Hales falls ill, sparks postponement of PSL amid virus
The decision came a day after a Test match and a ODI between Pakistan and Bangladesh was postponed.
Published: Tue 17 Mar 2020, 10:56 AM
Last updated: Wed 18 Mar 2020, 12:16 AM
Legendary Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram hoped the world would get back on its feet soon after the ongoing season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was called off on Tuesday after English batsman Alex Hales developed suspected coronavirus symptoms.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Wasim Khan said officials were forced to reconsider after a foreign player they wouldn't identify showed coronavirus symptoms.
Hours later, however, Hales confirmed on Twitter that he was the player in question, saying he first started developing flu-like symptoms on Sunday after returning to Britain.
"I returned to the UK in the early hours on Saturday morning feeling perfectly fit and healthy and with absolutely no symptoms of the virus. However, I awoke early on Sunday morning having developed a fever and followed the government's advice of self-isolation, a process I am still following having developed a dry and persistent cough," Hales wrote on Twitter.
"At this stage, it is not possible to be tested although I am hopeful that might be the case later today so that I can get absolute confirmation of my current health status." Hales was one of the top international players in the PSL, playing for the Karachi Kings as a batsman.
The lofty 31-year-old has played 11 Tests, 70 one-dayers and 60 Twenty20 matches for England since making his international debut in 2011.
Other overseas players - including from England, Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies - have been leaving the country en masse in recent days as cases of coronavirus rise.
Former Pakistan players, including Akram took to Twitter, to back the PCB decision.
"I personally want to thank all involved, including overseas and local players, for their exceptional contribution to our beloved PSL and as we send everyone back home to their respective families may we grant them safety and pray to Allah that the world gets back on its feet soon," Akram said in a tweet. "We are going to stand tall with other nations and with the world," said former pacer Shoaib Akhtar on his YouTube channel.
"This is an international calamity. We need to ensure there is no human loss. We need to fight it together. Through PSL, the message was that Pakistan is a safe haven," he added.
Former captain and all-rounder Shahid Afridi said while it is sad to see the PSL called off, the health and safety of players comes first.
"Sad to see the PSL end, but health and safety of all concerned is the key, esp those who are travelling back to their homes. Perhaps the decision could have been taken earlier, with regard to the trophy...well the table-topper should be handed the trophy?"
Pakistan has also postponed their upcoming ICC World Test Championship Test and one-off ODI against Bangladesh due to the pandemic.