PSL Final: Peshawar Zalmi shock as Umaid Asif and Haider Ali are suspended for breaking Covid rules

Pair met with people from outside their team bubble and are withdrawn on day of final

Peshawar Zalmi's Umaid Asif celebrates after taking the wicket of Islamabad United's Faheem Ashraf (not pictured) during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 cricket match between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi at the National Stadium in Karachi on February 27, 2021. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP)
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Peshawar Zalmi’s bid for a second Pakistan Super League title have been rocked after two of their players were suspended on the day of the final.

The 2017 champions will face Multan Sultans in the deciding match at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, starting at 8pm on Thursday.

The will be deprived the services of Umaid Asif and Haider Ali, as both have been suspended after a breach of the tournament’s Covid protocols.

The tournament had already been suspended back in March because of coronavirus cases within a number of teams.

The remaining fixtures were rescheduled and relocated to the UAE capital from Karachi, with a huge effort undertaken to make the tournament Covid-safe.

However, the Peshawar duo breached the conditions, after meeting with people from outside their team bubble.

According to an announcement made by the organisers hours in advance of the final, “they admitted to charges of violating the HBL PSL 6 Health and Safety Protocols by meeting people from outside their designated bio-secure bubble and also failing to maintain the prescribed social distancing.”

“The incident happened on Wednesday and the decision was made early Thursday morning by the Tournament Covid-19 Management panel,” the statement read.

Peshawar Zalmi's Haider Ali celebrates after scoring half century (50 runs) during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 cricket match between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators at the National Stadium in Karachi on February 26, 2021. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP)

“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.”

Haider has also been withdrawn from Pakistan’s squad for the tours to England and West Indies because of the offence.

Sohaib Maqsood, who will line up for Multan against Peshawar in the final, has been called up as Haider’s replacement.

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