'Behave yourself': Pakistani speed demon blasts NZ Cricket after Covid breaches

Six members of the Pakistan Cricket team are now in quarantine rooms at the Chateau on the Park...
Six members of the Pakistan Cricket team are now in quarantine rooms at the Chateau on the Park Hotel in Christchurch. Photo: RNZ
The identity of the six Pakistan cricketers who have tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in New Zealand have been revealed.

The entire team is on notice from the Government after players were issued a final warning for breaching rules in managed isolation in Christchurch.

A guest staying at the same hotel said players had flouted social distancing rules despite warnings from security. There have also been issues over mask use and socialising in corridors.

At the same time, six members of the squad face a two-week spell in quarantine after returning positive tests while in managed isolation.

Meanwhile, Pakistani cricket great Shoaib Akhtar - who was dubbed the Rawalpindi Express - has launched a scathing attack on NZ Cricket for threatening to cancel the tour.

Akhtar told our cricket officials to "behave yourself", and claimed the Pakistani players were being treated like a club team.

This morning, Pakistan cricket fans and journalists identified the affected players on social media.

They include former captain Sarfraz Ahmed, Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas, bowler Naseem Shah, Rohail Nazir and Danish Aziz.

Bloomfield: Players caught on camera flouting rules

This morning director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told RNZ hotel CCTV showed members of the tour party breaching social distancing protocols, enjoying each other's company in the hallways and disregarding mask protocol when they should have been isolating.

"Rather than being in their own rooms which is a requirement for the first three days until that first test comes back there was some mingling in the hallways, chatting, sharing food and not wearing masks was obvious on the CCTV footage."

He said security footage showed the unsanctioned gatherings happened at least once. Now all players and support staff were required to stay in their rooms, as should have happened from the outset.

Bloomfield said it wasn't clear if any of those mingling had gone on to test positive.

"What I can say is that all six of the positive tests are among players rather than the support squad."

But it "was possible" any one of the infected players could have spread the virus within the team.

"Everyone in this squad is being treated as if they have Covid. The fact that these infections were found when they were tested on arrival in the country suggests that there may be others that we uncover during day-three testing and we'll have the results of that today."

Bloomfield said he would be determining if the Pakistan squad would still be granted an exemption to train during managed isolation ahead of their New Zealand tour.

"I take a dim view of what we've seen already and we'll be taking it very seriously."

The infected players have been shifted into quarantine rooms at the Chateau on the Park hotel - throwing the team's preparation for upcoming matches against the Black Caps in turmoil.

Despite testing negative and passing a symptoms check before leaving Lahore, six in the squad returned positive tests the day after they landed in New Zealand. Two results are historical and four have been confirmed as new infections.

Shoaib Akhtar: NZ should be grateful

Akhtar, 45, posted a video on his YouTube channel claiming that NZ Cricket should be grateful to Pakistan for agreeing to come to this country.

He claimed the Pakistani players were not being paid for 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.

"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.

"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.

"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."

Meanwhile, Pakistan television sports anchor Shoaib Jatt claimed one of the violations happened in the lobby when a mask went under a player's nose.

Another breach happened when a player picked up food left by a waiter when he was not wearing a mask.

A guest staying at the same hotel said players were congregating in the smoking area despite warnings to keep apart.

On top of the team quarantine crackdown, it has also been revealed Pakistan cricketer Khushdil Shah's father has died.

Fans sent their condolences, saying it was a particularly tough situation for him to face so far from home.

Comments

Shoaib Akhtar needs to learn some humility. The Pakistan Cricket Team is not worth NZ getting another wave of Covid for. They are not above the rules and if they will not abide by the rules then send them home.

I'll be polite to Mr Akhtar.
If you don't like the way we treat covid19 infected guests take your team and go home and stay there.
You're a guest here, act like it.

"Greatest country in the world". Actually very close to a failed country, e.g. the rich pay no tax; does that sound great?

I know sport is a big part of being a Kiwi, but I can't believe that our country is letting in foreign people, infected with Covid or not, just to play a game...

There are Kiwis stuck overseas and not able to be with family here over the festive period, we need workers in our horticulture sector so that NZ can still earn export dollars, and other "essential" workers required in various other sectors.

I know a lot of people may not like hearing it, but sport is NOT "essential" to the survival of New Zealand or it's citizens; it's actually the complete opposite - instead of making money for NZ it could possibly start another wave of Covid which could cost this country another few billion that we really can't afford.

The Government did a fantastic job of managing the initial Covid crisis and that is recognised by the election results. However, I do feel that because we got off so lightly, we're making a mistake by getting too lax in who we're letting through our borders.

There are vaccines that are so close to being available. Surely, it would be more sensible to wait until they've been used before allowing any old Smith, Jones or Akhbar into our "safe" country.

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter