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Naseem Shah expelled from Pakistan Super League for violating COVID-19 protocols

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The 18-year-old fast bowler reportedly had an outdated COVID-19 negative certificate with him.

Fast bowler Naseem Shah has been expelled from next month’s Pakistan Super League in Abu Dhabi after breaching the tournament’s COVID-19 protocols.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said the right-arm fast bowler “is now out of the competition, ” as the 18-year-old reportedly arrived at a team hotel in Lahore on Monday with an outdated negative test for COVID-19.

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The PCB’s protocols require all the players traveling to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday to present a negative test taken not more than 48 hours prior to arrival at the team hotel. Shah presented a report on Monday from a test that was conducted on May 18.

The PCB said it immediately placed Shah into isolation on a separate floor before being released from the hotel following a decision made by a three-member committee on the recommendation of the independent medical advisory panel of the PSL.

“The PCB doesn’t take any pride in releasing a young fast bowler from its marquee event, but if we will ignore this breach, then we will potentially put at risk the entire event,” said PCB’s director commercial Babar Hamid in a statement.

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Hamid, who also heads the PSL, said that Shah’s expulsion from the event “will also send out a loud and clear message to all involved in the remaining matches that the PCB will not compromise on any violations and will expel the player or player support personnel irrespective of his stature and standing in the game if they are found to be flouting the prescribed protocols or regulations.”

Shah was supposed to be the key player for Quetta Gladiators in the PSL. He rose to the fame with his pace when he made his test debut against Australia in November 2019 and then grabbed a hat trick in a test match against Bangladesh at Rawalpindi last year. He has played in nine test matches and grabbed 20 wickets.

While players from six franchises are scheduled to fly out to Abu Dhabi this week, the PCB has not yet released the schedule of the remaining 20 games.

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Pakistan’s premier domestic Twenty20 league was postponed in March with 20 games to go when several players and support staff among the six franchises tested positive for COVID-19.

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