By Sohail Ali
LAHORE, Sep 01 (APP): The Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday announced gradual, careful and phase wise resumption of cricket activities across the country.
With players’ health and safety at the heart, the board has announced the soft reopening of the National High Performance Centre by allowing only the current Pakistan cricketers to have the first use of the facilities and also gave a go-ahead to recommencement of recreational cricket with strict adherence to government-issued protocols.
The procedures for the use of the NHPC facilities have been prepared following careful deliberations with the PCB’s Medical and Sports Sciences department to provide safe and secure environment to elite players to help them prepare for the upcoming cricket season, which begins on 30 September.
In the next phase, the PCB will announce protocols under which the domestic cricket competitions will be held. As Covid-19 is an evolving situation, the PCB will continue to monitor the situation and make amendments in the protocols as necessary.
Age-group, women and men cricketers, who have represented Pakistan in the past 12 months, as well as former cricketers who are involved in day-to-day PCB operations and players undergoing rehabilitation programmes, will be allowed to use select facilities during the day while observing strict Standard Operating Procedures (attached).
Players who are eligible under the first phase of the NHPC reopening will have to book the time and facilities in advance through e-mails at email@example.com.
This is to ensure the appropriate standard social distancing protocols are observed, while also avoiding multiple use of the equipment until these are sterilised and ready for reuse.
Players are prohibited from bringing their helpers or assistants, while the use of net bowlers will have to be nominated and approved by the appropriate NHPC authority.
As part of international cricket playing conditions, players will not be allowed to use saliva during net practice.
The players will have to wear masks while arriving at the NHPC and undergo mandatory temperature checks at the entrance.
The players will be required to walk through disinfection gates and train at their designated areas only.
PCB Director – High Performance, Nadeem Khan said : “It was important that we produced these protocols so that our elite players can prepare for the upcoming season in the best possible and safest environment.
I want to thank our medical team for preparing comprehensive protocols, which, we are confident, will ensure safety and security for the players.
“This is an unprecedented situation which continues to evolve. We are committed to monitoring the situation, while broadening our scope and opening doors for more players on the circuit as we move ahead.”
Meanwhile on recreational cricket, the PCB had suspended all activities on 17 March following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.
On Tuesday, the PCB announced the recommencement of these activities, while reminding and advising all participants and organisers to strictly adhere to Covid-19 protocols for their health and safety as well as all those round them.
“We don’t control recreational cricket but as the game’s governing body in Pakistan, we can request all organisers to ensure that their participants are strictly adhering to the government issued Covid-19 protocols.
This is in their best interest as well as their close ones and cricket. Sport is a healthy activity and it needs to stay that way,” Nadeem Khan added.