Dr Saleem had tendered his resignation last month, only for it to be accepted now
The PCB has decided to release the head of its Medical Department Dr Sohail Saleem, officially accepting his resignation, which had been tendered on March 5 in the wake of the PSL’s postponement last month. The PCB believes there is a need to revamp its Medical and Sports Sciences department, elevating it in line with the international standards.
The PSL was curtailed last month after an outbreak of Covid-19 among a number of players made its continuation untenable. That came after a number of incidents raised questions about the security and implementation of the protocols put in place in the bio-secure environment during the tournament. It is unclear if Saleem was underlined and held accountable by the fact-finding panel – formed to review the fiasco. Nevertheless, his exit was always on the cards.
The PCB said that Sohail wasn’t removed but had made the decision to leave himself, a decision the board respects. But his performance has been under scrutiny for some time – and for reasons other than the bio-secure issues. Over the years during his time as the medical head, several players have struggled to return after rehabilitation from injuries. There had been a lack of trust from a number of players in his department, some of whom have opted to seek treatment from external doctors, with a number of players travelling to the UK for independent assessment and rehabilitation.
In their virtual meeting yesterday, the PCB Board of Governors reflected on the findings of the two-member panel. They expressed their disappointment at the failures that were pointed out in the report, urging “remedial actions”. The PCB opted to outsource bio-security to a foreign management company to resume the remainder of the PSL from June 1. In all, 20 matches remain, with all of them to be played in Karachi following a seven-day quarantine period that starts on May 22.
The PCB, have consulted pioneering cricket playing countries to help refurbish the medical department, the England Cricket Board understood to be amongst them. This will be the second time the PCB has reworked the department following an earlier tweak, when it was merged with the National High-Performance centre. On that occasion, Dr Saleem had been promoted to a director role.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent