Peshawar Zalmi's Haider Ali and Umaid Asif have been suspended from Thursday's PSL final against the Multan Sultans in Abu Dhabi after the duo admitted to charges of violating the tournament's health and safety protocols by meeting people from outside their biosecure bubbles. They also failed to maintain the prescribed social distancing.
A release from the PCB said the incident occurred on Wednesday and the decision to withdraw the two players was taken on the morning of the final by the tournament's Covid-19 management panel comprising Barrister Salman Naseer (PCB, chief operating officer) and Babar Hamid (director - commercial, and PSL head).
"The two cricketers were found not to have interacted with any other squad members at any time after the incident and have been placed in room isolation," the release said.
For the same reason, Ali has also been withdrawn from the upcoming tours of England and the West Indies, and replaced by Sohaib Maqsood.
Asif's exclusion is a significant blow for the finalists, with the fast bowler a mainstay in the starting eleven. He had played every one of Zalmi's games in Abu Dhabi up till now, with Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Irfan the only other available teammates to have taken more than his eight wickets this season. While Haider has struggled for form and was dropped from the side four games into the Abu Dhabi leg, he remained a potentially explosive option ahead of the final.
Asif released a statement following the announcement, acknowledging the breach and expressing "immense remorse for my actions". "I am bitterly disappointed at not only missing out on playing in the PSL final but more importantly for letting my Peshawar Zalmi teammates down," he said.