PSL-return Alex Hales in self-isolation due to COVID-19 symptoms

Alex Hales called up the owners of Karachi Kings on Monday and informed that he had shown symptoms similar to that of COVID-19.

Alex Hales has reportedly gone into self-isolation after reaching England.

Alex Hales has reportedly gone into self-isolation after reaching England.   -  Getty Images

A few days ago, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) gave an option to the overseas players to head back home in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Karachi Kings’ English recruit, Alex Hales, was one of the cricketers who took up the offer and went back home.

Despite some of the top players heading home, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) went as per schedule. But on Tuesday, hours before the semifinal, an emergency meeting between the franchises and the PCB saw the tournament being postponed indefinitely citing health and safety issues.

The real reason, however, is the fact that on Monday, Hales called up the owners of Karachi Kings and informed that he had shown symptoms similar to that of COVID-19.

That triggered a panic among players and staff, eventually leading to the cancellation of the event.

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“Alex left four days ago, fearing that there could be a lockdown and then it would be difficult for him to leave. Yesterday, he called up saying that there were symptoms. Now, those symptoms don’t mean, he is positive. As of now, he is in self-isolation and awaiting reports,” Salman Iqbal, the owner of Karachi Kings, told Sportstar on Tuesday.

Soon after the semifinals were called off, all the players and support staff of the franchise underwent tests. “Most of the overseas players will be leaving tonight,” Iqbal said.

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He, however, clarified that PSL was not called off just because of the Hales’ episode. “One can’t say that it happened because of Hales. He left four days ago, so he may have got infected even in transit. You never know. I think the tournament was called off at the right time,” Iqbal, a media baron, said.

While the other leagues -- including the IPL -- was suspended due to the fears surrounding the novel COVID-19 outbreak, PSL was the only tournament which went on as a closed-door affair. “We were the only league that was on. PCB has a very strong system and I think, we took the right decision at the right time,” Iqbal said.

After heading home, Hales had put out a tweet saying that he was on self-isolation. However, he later, deleted the tweet.

“The news coming in right now is that maybe Alex Hales is showing symptoms and he is being tested because of which this problem has risen,” former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja told reporters in Karachi, making it clear that even the commentators for the PSL would undergo tests.

Meanwhile, PCB CEO Wasim Khan, said: “We came to know of an overseas player having a suspected case and when we came to know we took the decision of postponing the league.”

It has been learned that the franchise bosses will meet soon to decide on the future course of action.

ALEX HALES STATEMENT

In the light of the speculation and rumour that is currently circulating within the cricket world and on social media, I felt I needed to give a full explanation of my situation.

Like many other overseas players, I reluctantly left the Pakistan Super League early because, with COVID-19 reaching the global pandemic status, I felt it was more important to be with the family rather than face a period of lockdown thousands of miles from home.

I returned to the UK in the early hours of Saturday morning feeling perfectly fit and healthy and with absolutely no symptoms of the virus.

However, I awoke early on Sunday morning having developed a fever and followed the government’s advise of self isolation, a process I am obviously still following having developed a dry and persistent cough.

At this stage, it has not been possible to be tested although I am hopeful that might be the case later today so that I can get absolute confirmation of my current health status.

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