LAHORE: Peshawar Zalmi’s Haider Ali and Umaid Asif were suspended from Thursday’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) final against Multan Sultans held in Abu Dhabi after the duo admitted to charges of violating the tournament’s health and safety protocols by meeting people from outside their biosecure bubbles. They also failed to maintain the prescribed social distancing. A release from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) yesterday said the incident occurred on Wednesday and the decision to withdraw the two players was taken on the morning of the final by the tournament’s Covid-19 management panel. “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,” the release said. For the same reason, Ali has also been withdrawn from the upcoming tours of England and the West Indies, and replaced by Sohaib Maqsood. Asif’s exclusion was a significant blow for the finalists, with the fast bowler a mainstay in the starting eleven. He had played every one of Peshawar’s games in Abu Dhabi up till now, with Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Irfan the only other available teammates to have taken more than his eight wickets this season. While Haider had struggled for form and was dropped from the side four games into the Abu Dhabi leg, he remained a potentially explosive option ahead of the final. Asif released a statement following the announcement, acknowledging the breach and expressing “immense remorse for my actions”. “I am bitterly disappointed at not only missing out on playing in the PSL final but more importantly for letting my Peshawar teammates down,” he said. Haider’s replacement Sohaib has had a stellar PSL season, in which he has to date scored 363 runs in 11 matches with an average of 40.33 and strike rate of just under 153. He has represented Pakistan in 26 ODIs and two T20Is, with his last T20I appearance being against New Zealand in Hamilton in January 2016. During their two tours, Pakistan men’s national cricket team will play three ODIs and eight T20Is, apart from two Tests in Jamaica.