LAHORE (APP) – The Pakistan Cricket Board will spend around PKR 15 million on players, player support personnel and match officials’ testing during the 2020-21 domestic season, which kicks off with the National T20 Cup on 30 September with the first round matches in Multan and second round games in Rawalpindi from 9-18 October.
Director – High Performance Nadeem Khan said that on Tuesday each player in the National T20 Cup, National U19 Three-Day and One-Day competitions, Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and Pakistan Cup One-Day Tournament will undergo tests, at least, twice in the lead up to the tournaments. The players are also expected to undergo random tests during the tournaments.
The PCB has already announced 192 players for the 1st and 2nd XI events, while each of the six U19 Cricket Association sides are likely to comprise 20 players apiece (120 players in total). In addition to this, player support personnel and match officials will also undergo Covid-19 tests as per the protocols, which are being fine-tuned and likely to be confirmed later this week.
“Due to the pandemic, this is an additional cost but the PCB is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the players, player support personnel and match officials. Therefore, the PCB is happy to make this investment”.
“There is nothing more important than the health and safety of all involved in the competition and the PCB will fulfill all its obligations and responsibilities towards all the competitors as part of its duty of care,” Nadeem Khan, a former international spinner, said.
“All those involved in the competition will hold their first tests in their respective cities, while the PCB will conduct second round of tests on those who will join the squads following the first negative tests. The PCB will reimburse costs of the first tests.
“The minimum cost of a Covid-19 test is PKR6,000 and if you calculate with the number of tests that will be conducted on the players, player support personnel and match officials during the season, then the overall cost will be around PKR15million”.
“The other operational costs, including travel buses and team hotels, which are part of the bio-secure bubble, are on top of the testing expenditure”.
“This is an unusual and unprecedented situation and I am proud that we have not only announced the schedule of the 2020-21 domestic cricket season but are also on the verge of launching it. This will be a challenging season and I am aware everything will not work clock-wise, but we remain optimistic and confident, and willing to learn and improve as we progress in the season”.
“Domestic season is the lifeblood for professional cricketers and match officials as their earnings are aligned to it. While a number of cricket boards are struggling to even put their truncated schedules together, we are fortunate that the controlled Covid-19 situation in Pakistan has helped us to plan our complete season”.
“This is an evolving situation and we will learn and improve as we will progress. But I remain hopeful that we will set an example for many by delivering a safe and secure season as per our duty of care policy.”
Nadeem also said that the players who traveled to England for three Tests and as many T20Is for a tour which stretched seven weeks have been allowed to join their respective domestic sides on 25 September so they can spend time with their families.
“It is a commonsense approach to accept the players’ request who spent nearly 10 weeks in England in a bio-secure environment. This additional time will help them spent more quality time with their families, recharge their batteries and return to competitive cricket will full vigour and force,” he said,
The PCB last week said once the lowly paid top domestic cricket performers will now have the opportunity to earn as high as PKR3.2million, which is 83 per cent more than 2019-20, and as low as PKR1.8million, still a seven per cent increase from what the players in the highest category received last year.