Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza on Monday joined the Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Peshawar Zalmi at a time when many of the foreign cricketers are leaving the competition due to the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus.
“Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza has joined Peshawar Zalmi as a Silver category player, it was announced on Monday. The 33-year-old will join Zalmi, who take on table-toppers Multan Sultans in the first semi-final on Tuesday at 2pm, today,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in an official statement.
Sikandar’s decision to join the tournament has come in the middle of the deadly outbreak of COVID-19 which has seen many of the foreigners in PSL returning to their home. Australia batsman Chris Lynn, who was playing for Lahore Qalandars, was the latest cricketer to withdraw midway.
Earlier, England players Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Tymal Mills, Liam Dawson, Liam Livingstone, Lewis Gregory, James Vince, West Indian Carlos Braithwaite, South African Rilee Roussouw and James Foster (Coach) returned home.
In a statement, the PCB said it had given the option to all foreign players and support staff to withdraw from the tournament if they wanted to and franchises can replace them with local players and officials.
PCB CEO Wasim Khan said team owners were taken into confidence before allowing foreign players and support staff to go home due to the virus threat.
“As of now, it is important to emphasise and clarify that the main concern of many of the 10 players and coach (who are returning home) revolves around avoiding a potential situation where they might become stranded due to flight cancellations or border closures in their own countries.
“We will continue to assess and review the situation. And will not hesitate to make what we believe are the right decisions for everyone involved,” Khan added.
(With inputs from PTI)