In the latest development, PCB has reached out to Emirates Cricket Board to host the remaining matches of the 2021 PSL in the UAE. As per the initial plan, the remaining matches were to be played out in Karachi, but the PCB has decided against it. This has come after a request from all the franchises, as well as an advice from the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), which asked the board not to hold matches in the country due to the worsening Covid-19 situation.
As per a report in ESPNcricinfo, all the teams had written to the PCB last week, to hold the tournament in UAE, which was later reviewed by the board. It is also understood that the PCB has cancelled its booking with the Karachi hotel, where 407 rooms were reserved.
The 2021 edition of PSL was marred by Covid positive cases among players and support staff from some fracnshises, only after 14 matches. Now the resumption date is finalised from June 2 to June 20. Also, a replacement draft was held, so that the teams can replug some loopholes, since many of the foreign stars won’t be available.
As additional measures, to curtail the Covid cases in the country, Pakistan has made a decision to curtail the inbound flights from May 5 to May 20. Also, a national lockdown has been announced till May 15. But the move to UAE will come with its own challenges. Flights from Pakistan are running at a very low frequency. Also, in June the temperatures soar, and it is not an ideal month to play cricket in.
As far as the positive cases in PSL are concerned, Islamabad United’s Fawad Ahmed had tested positive on March 1. Apart from that Kamran Khan of Kings returned with a positive test the next day. Along with him, Tom Banton too was in the list. Interestingly, PCB had offered to give Covid vaccine shots to the players, if they wanted, after entering the boo-bubble.