The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday said it is set to resume cricket activities in the country and allowed the reopening of its National High Performance Centre (NHPC) for elite players, shut since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides, the PCB also said that recreational cricket can also commence with strict adherence to government-issued protocols.
All recreational cricket activities were suspended in the country on March 17 following the outbreak of COVID-19 in 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 PCB said in a statement.
The Board said all facilities at the NHPC, situated in Lahore, will be made available to the elite players to help them prepare for the upcoming season beginning on September 30.
“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,” it said.
The Board also said “players will not be allowed to use saliva during net practice” and “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.
“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,” PCB Director ? High Performance, Nadeem Khan said.
“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.”
Nadeem also stressed on the need to follow COVID-19 protocols.
“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,” he said.