Pakistan cricketers positive for COVID-19 in New Zealand

Pakistan cricketers positive for COVID-19 in New Zealand
Pakistan players celebrate their win in the third Twenty20 cricket match against England at Old Trafford in Manchester, England in this Sept. 1, 2020 file photo. (AP)
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Updated 26 November 2020

Pakistan cricketers positive for COVID-19 in New Zealand

Pakistan cricketers positive for COVID-19 in New Zealand
  • Pakistan team also receives a ‘final warning’ for flouting quarantine rules
  • New Zealand has largely eradicated community transmission of coronavirus

WELLINGTON: Pakistan’s cricket tour of New Zealand was in the balance Thursday after six squad members tested positive for COVID-19 and the team received a “final warning” for flouting quarantine rules.
New Zealand health authorities revoked the Pakistan players’ ability to train while in isolation at their Christchurch hotel, making clear they would not tolerate risky behavior in a country that has largely eradicated the virus.
“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,” director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, said in a statement.
The health ministry said Pakistan’s 53-member tour party, led by skipper Babar Azam, tested negative before leaving Lahore and were swabbed again after arriving for a spell of managed isolation on the South Island on Tuesday.
Six tests came back positive and those affected were moved into stricter quarantine, it said, with New Zealand Cricket adding that four cases were new and two were regarded as “historical.”
“While this is disappointing for the Pakistan squad, the testing outcomes and the actions taken show the government system is working,” NZC said.
Bloomfield said CCTV showed members of the tour party breaching social distancing protocols.
“The team as a whole has been issued with a final warning,” he said.
“It’s important to note that all incidents of breaches occurred within the facility and there is no risk to the public.”
The West Indies cricket team were also reprimanded by New Zealand health authorities for similar breaches earlier this month when they were in managed isolation.
New Zealand has largely eradicated community transmission of coronavirus recording just 1,684 cases and 25 deaths in a population of five million.
Aggressive testing, snap lockdowns and effective contact tracing mean domestic life has largely returned to normal, but border control remain strict.
All overseas arrivals must undergo two weeks in quarantine, although New Zealand Cricket negotiated special privileges to allow the tourists to train together.
Health authorities said these had been revoked after several team members were seen on CCTV “breaching managed isolation rules, despite clear, consistent and detailed communication of expected behaviors.”
The tour is scheduled to being with the first of three Twenty20 internationals in Auckland on December 18, followed by two Tests, but will be in jeopardy if there are any further breaches.
NZC said it was having discussions with the tourists to ensure they understood the quarantine requirements.
New Zealand’s military helps manage border virus accommodation and air commodore Darryn Webb said there were robust procedures in place to deal with positive tests.
“Our focus is on keeping the rest of the squad and our staff safe,” he said.
“For that reason, all other team members must remain in their rooms while investigations continue.”
Even before Pakistan arrived on Kiwi soil the tour had been hit by ill health, with Pakistan’s dashing opener Fakhar Zaman ruled out at the 11th hour with a persistent fever.
The 30-year-old left-hander tested negative along with the rest of the squad.


Chelsea fires coach Frank Lampard halfway through second season

Chelsea fires coach Frank Lampard halfway through second season
Updated 25 January 2021

Chelsea fires coach Frank Lampard halfway through second season

Chelsea fires coach Frank Lampard halfway through second season
  • Chelsea has lost five of its last eight Premier League games and dropped to ninth place

LONDON: Frank Lampard was fired by Chelsea on Monday halfway through his second season in charge of the London club after being unable to replicate his success as the club’s record scorer in his first Premier League managerial job.
Chelsea has lost five of its last eight Premier League games and dropped to ninth place, despite Lampard benefiting from nearly $300 million spent on new players for this season.
Chelsea said the performances had not shown “any clear path to sustained improvement” — making a change of managers necessary.
“This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him,” owner Roman Abramovich said. “He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, the Board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as head coach and wish him every success in the future. He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
As the pressure has grown, the cracks were showing ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup win over Luton, when Lampard hit out at perceived negative coverage of the club.
But his own shortcomings of a fledging coaching career were being exposed and sentimentality counted for little despite being instrumental to the trophy-laden revival of the club as a player since the takeover by Abramovich in 2003.
Chelsea brought back its midfield great as coach in 2019 despite him having only a single season’s experience in management in the second division with Derby.
He achieved Champions League qualification in his first season by securing a fourth-place finish in the Premier League. The rush to dismiss Lampard is indicative of the impatience shown by Abramovich, particularly when the team is slipping away from the Champions League spots.
After securing one of the biggest jobs in English management so early in his coaching career, Lampard leaves Stamford Bridge without any success having lost the 2020 FA Cup final to Arsenal.
Lampard is a Chelsea great after scoring 211 goals from central midfield from 2001-14, during which he won every major honor at the club including three Premier League titles and the Champions League. He was associated with some of the best moments in the club’s history and admired for his work ethic and making the most of his talent.