The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has formally approached the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) in order to host the remainder of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 matches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The PSL 2021 or PSL 6 was postponed indefinitely in March after multiple players and staff contracted the COVID-19 virus including a host of foreign players as well. This was due to a number of bio-bubble breaches from players, staff, and franchise owners, which led to PCB conducting a formal investigation as to how this happened.
The tournament was set to resume on June 1 with the final scheduled for June 20 but the dates and venue for the rest of the games are likely to change depending on the coronavirus situation. The PCB wanted to host the remainder of matches only in Karachi’s National Stadium by creating a bio-bubble for which they hired a UK-based company.
PCB Approaches UAE After Pakistan’s National Command Operation Centre (NCOC) Asks Them To Not Play In Karachi Due To Worsening COVID-19 Situation
As per the original plan, the PCB wanted all the teams to assemble in Karachi by May 23rd to begin their mandatory 7-day quarantine period before entering the bubble. The remaining 16 matches were to be held under tight security and were to begin from June 2nd.
However, all the six franchise owners approached the Pakistan Cricket Board and requested them to move the venue to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), citing the worsening situation of COVID-19 in Karachi. UAE was preferred as the host after it successfully hosted the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 in September-November last year.
Pakistan’s National Command Operation Centre (NCOC) has also asked the board to avoid playing in Karachi because of the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country.
“We had an interactive and productive meeting in which we considered a number of factors. 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,” said Wasim Khan, the PCB chief executive.
“The 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,” the PCB said.
The PSL 2021 was to be the first whole edition of the T20 tournament to be played wholly in Pakistan itself after the previous 5 editions were played in the UAE in whole or in parts. Only 14 PSL 6 fixtures were played between February 20 and March 3 before the T20 league was postponed due to the surge in coronavirus cases.