Alex Hales has confirmed he is self-isolating at home after developing symptoms of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) following his return from the Pakistan Super League.
The PSL’s organizers confirmed on Tuesday morning that the competition’s semi-finals and finals had been postponed indefinitely after a player had shown symptoms of the virus. PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said “we cannot reveal the identity of that player”, but Ramiz Raja, who has been commentating on the tournament, told reporters: “Alex Hales has developed symptoms.”
Raja’s comments led to inaccurate speculation that Hales had tested positive for the virus, which he denied in a statement.
“In the light of the speculation and rumor that is currently circulating within the cricket world and on social media, I felt I needed to give a full explanation of my situation,” Hales said.
“Like many other overseas players, I reluctantly left the Pakistan Super League early because, with COVID-19 reaching global pandemic status, I felt it was more important to be with my family rather than face a period of lockdown thousands of miles from home.
“I returned to the UK in the early hours of Saturday morning feeling perfectly fit and healthy and with absolutely no symptoms of the virus. However, I awoke early on Sunday morning having developed a fever and followed the government’s advice of self-isolation, a process I am obviously still following having developed a dry and persistent cough.
“At this stage, it has not been possible to be tested although I am hopeful that might be the case later today [Tuesday] so that I can get absolute confirmation of my current health status.”
The Guardian reported that Hales spent Saturday socializing with Tom Curran and Jade Dernbach after returning from Pakistan, but that they were not among the six Surrey players confirmed by the club to be in self-isolation on Monday. A club spokesperson later confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the pair are now also self-isolating.
Hales had tweeted “Self-isolation begins… TV series to watch please?!” on Monday, but later deleted the post.
All the players and officials of the four teams to have qualified for the PSL semi-finals, as well as broadcasters and staff involved with the games, will be tested for the virus following the competition’s postponement.
Salman Iqbal, the owner of Hales’ franchise Karachi Kings, told ESPNcricinfo: “I have been asking for it to be postponed for the past two days, as we [PSL] was the only cricket going on. But, anyway, it’s a very good decision by the franchise owners and the PCB management.”