‘Behave yourself’: Shoaib Akhtar reacts after NZ Cricket gives ‘final warning’ to Pakistan Cricket team over Covid-19 protocols breach
Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has come down hard against New Zealand Cricket after they reportedly gave ‘a final warning’ to the Pakistan Cricket Team over the Covid-19 protocol breaches. Six players were tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of Pakistan’s series against New Zealand which kicks off from December 10th.
After the reports of positive cases came out, a New Zealand Cricket statement said that there were some protocol breaches by Pakistan cricket players. “Separately, NZC has also been made aware that some members of the Pakistan team had contravened protocols on the first day of managed isolation. We will be having discussions with the tourists to assist them in understanding the requirements,” the NZC statement added.
In a statement to stuff.co.nz, New Zealand’s Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said that the Pakistan team has been given ‘a final warning’. “It is a privilege to come to New Zealand to play sport, but in return teams must stick to the rules that are designed to keep COVID-19 out of our communities and keep our staff safe,” Bloomfield said. “The team as a whole has been issued with a final warning.”
A Whatsapp message from PCB CEO Wasim Khan sent to all players, according to a report by ESPNCricinfo, in which he told players that the NZC has told them that the team will be sent back home if there is one more breach.
“Boys, I spoke to the New Zealand government and they told us there were three or four breaches of protocols. They have a zero-tolerance policy and they’ve given us a final warning. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, and you went through similar conditions in England,” the Whatsapp message read.
“It’s not easy. But this is a matter of the nation’s respect and credibility. Observe these 14 days and then you’ll have the freedom to go to restaurants and roam about freely. They have told me in clear terms that if we commit one more breach, they’ll send us home,” it added.
Akhtar, in a video, slammed NZC for their remarks and said that Pakistan is not a club team that can just be sent back before the start of the tour. “New Zealand’s comment that if Pakistan’s team’s SOP (standard operating procedures) is not in place then we will cancel the tour is below the belt,” Akhtar said in a Youtube video.
“I want to give a message to New Zealand board (NZC) that this is not a club team, it’s Pakistan national cricket team. We don’t need you. Our cricket has not finished and we aren’t desperate for money. You will get the broadcasting rights money. So, you should be indebted to us that we decided to tour your country in such difficult times,” he added.
”You are talking about Pakistan - the greatest country on the planet - so behave yourself and stop giving such statement. Be careful next time. Pakistan team now needs to smash them in T20 series,” he said.
Pakistan will play 3 T20Is and 2 Tests against New Zealand.
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