The Pakistan squad is suffering from lack of five-star hotel facilities since their arrival in New Zealand. According to details, the Pakistan team is currently in managed isolation in Christchurch and are not allowed to train until approval from the local health ministry.
The players were hoping for better hospitality in New Zealand but that has not been the case, especially after the 10 positive Covid-19 cases in the squad.
According to sources, players, who are generally looked after really well on foreign tours, are confined in their rooms for the past 11 days. The bed sheets, in their rooms, have not been changed, which is done on a daily basis in normal circumstances.
The rooms and attached washrooms have not been cleaned, either. The squad members leave used towels outside their rooms, in bags, which is replaced with new ones by the hotel staff. Players are also served food in disposable boxes instead of plates, after the positive COVID-19 cases.
The team was denied access to the cricket ground for training by the NZ government after all the 44 players got negative results following the fourth test.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has expressed its disappointment with New Zealand’s cricket and health authorities over the handling of the Pakistani squad’s COVID-19 issues and wrote “strongly worded” emails after the players were denied permission to train despite early assurances.
“The PCB has sent two strongly-worded emails to the New Zealand Ministry of Health and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and even considered pulling out of the tour in case the hosts fail to allow all cleared players to start their training and pursue cricket activities from Friday despite early assurance,”The News reported on Saturday.
In his email to the NZ health authorities, PCB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wasim Khan lamented the “non-professional” attitude and wording of the ministry’s handout issued Friday and said: “Laboratories are processing the team’s day 9 swabs, which were taken yesterday. Full results are pending.”
“The fact of the matter is that you had already shared the results of the swab and declared all negative who were negative from the third test. Why this thing was not mentioned in the handout that was issued well after the swab results were finalized. This is totally non-professionalism and meant to put Pakistan players under pressure.
“The PCB wants an explanation for this negligence,” Wasim Khan wrote.
While expressing displeasure over refusal to training, the PCB CEO said that all the cleared players were put under extra pressure after they were denied to start their training and pursue intra-squad cricket activities as they were already going through a tough period.
Wasim added that they had been promised to start their training after the outcome of the fourth test.
“Denying them the opportunity is nothing less than putting extra pressure on the players who were consecutively tested negative for the fourth time during their nine-day confinement in New Zealand. Since they have repeatedly tested negative, there is no sane reason to deny them the opportunity to pursue training and to prepare for T20 and Test series.
The NZC had promised to give the option to train following the fourth successive negative result of the Covid-19 test but players have been put under pressure by denying them the opportunity to feel at ease,” the email noted.
PCB mulled pulling out of the tour:
Following the denial from the NZ government to allow players to train, the PCB high-ups held an emergency meeting on Friday and even considered the option of pulling out of the tour.
“Had it been the first week, possibly we would have decided to pull out of the tour. But we think that the players have already gone through nine days of confinement and testing times so it would be unjust to call them back. Just four days of the quarantine period have been left, as such, we have decided not to call the team back and let them complete the two-week quarantine period.
“It is also a reality that all the players who left for New Zealand tested negative in two rounds of testing in Lahore. However, they contracted the virus on the way to New Zealand,” a source within the PCB says. A possibility CEO Wasim Khan has also hinted in his interview with a foreign media outlet.