The remaining 20 matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 edition will be held in Abu Dhabi, confirmed a source on Tuesday, as the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) gave the green signal for Pakistan to host the series in the UAE.
PSL 2021 set to play in UAE
Only 14 matches of the tournament had been played when the pandemic forced the PCB to suspend the PSL 2021.
However, Wasim Khan, the PCB’s chief executive, said there is still plenty of obstacles to navigate before the future of the tournament is decided.
“We had an interactive and productive meeting in which we considered a number of factors,” Khan said after the Zoom meeting between the PCB and the six franchise owners on Friday.
“While the UAE has emerged as a preferred venue, a number of challenges remain, which will be worked through over the coming days. We remain committed to doing everything possible to complete the HBL PSL 6.”
Friday’s meeting also considered advice from Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Centre, the body overseeing the country’s Covid-response effort.
According to a statement from the PSL organisers, the viability of finishing the season is dependent on playing the matches before Pakistan departs for their limited-overs tour to the UK.
“As the [Eid] holiday period has already started in both the countries and the Pakistan men’s national cricket team has to depart for the United Kingdom on 23 June, the PCB will use this time to work with the Emirates Cricket Board to check if the event can be successfully delivered within the available time,” the statement read.
“During the holiday period, the PCB will work on a revised tournament schedule, while it will liaise with the ECB in relation to finalising playing and training facilities, hotel bookings, ground transportation and visitors’ visas.
“PCB will carry out a detailed financial and risk assessment as well as cost analysis before reporting back to the franchises, who will then review before a decision on the event venue is confirmed.”
UAE restricts Player’s families
Sources said that it is expected that the teams would proceed to Abu Dhabi by May 22. According to sources, families of players and officials have not been allowed to travel to Abu Dhabi.
The UAE recently banned entry of people from Pakistan due to Covid issues. A source said that the first game will be held on June 1 at Abu Dhabi.
Only 14 matches were held in the first phase held in February and March here at the National Stadium which had to be postponed when a handful of foreign players and officials tested positive for Covid-19.
Sources said that foreign players would come to Abu Dhabi directly. Because of a recent intensive spike in Covid cases in Pakistan, franchises had advised the PCB to shift the remaining matches to the UAE.
According to sources, if the UAE refused to grant the PCB’s request then the Board would go for its second option and hold the remaining matches in Karachi.