ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Super League will finish four days ahead of schedule in empty stadiums and minus 14 foreign cricketers because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The playoffs next week were shortened, and Lahore will host both semifinals on Tuesday and the final on Wednesday.
The remaining four league games to Sunday will go ahead as scheduled in Lahore and Karachi.
“Following advice from the Punjab government, the Pakistan Cricket Board has decided the final-leg matches of the Pakistan Super League in Lahore will be played behind closed doors,” the PCB said.
English players Alex Hales, Tymal Mills, Jason Roy, James Vince, Tom Banton, Liam Dawson, Lewis Gregory, Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone, the West Indies’ Carlos Brathwaite and South Africa’s Rilee Rossouw are among those who will be flying home to avoid possible border closures.
“Thank you Pakistan. Unfortunately the journey was cut short as I felt I needed to be at home with my family with what is happening in the world at the moment. A huge thank you to the security, fans,” Mills said in a tweet.
The PCB added Luke Ronchi and Colin Munro of New Zealand and Dale Steyn of South Africa were also leaving and no longer available to Islamabad United along with Malan.
All players were given the option of returning home on Friday after a conference call between PCB officials and franchise owners.
“It is important to emphasize and clarify that the main concern of many of the players who have chosen to return home revolves around avoiding a potential situation where they might become stranded either due to flight cancellations or border closures in their own countries,” PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said in a statement.
There have been more than 128,000 cases and 5,000 deaths globally since the virus outbreak started late last year. Most people quickly recover from the virus after experiencing only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people with mild illness recover in about two weeks.