The playoffs including the final of the Pakistan Super League(PSL) has been shifted to Karachi from Lahore due to poor air quality. The Pakistan Cricket Board has taken this step to safeguard the health of the players and the officials.
The league stage of the PSL 2020 was completed in March, but the playoffs were postponed due to the rise of the coronavirus. Now since all cricket has resumed, the PCB has decided to complete the tournament. The playoff will take place on November 14th and 15th, with the final on November 17th. Multan Sultans, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, and Peshawar Zalmi are the four teams qualified for the final phase of the PSL.
Risk to keep PSL matches in Lahore at this stage: Wasim Khan
PCB CEO, Wasim Khan as quoted by Cricket Pakistan website said that they have been monitoring the air quality for two weeks and have come to the decision to shift the matches to Karachi. The air quality in Lahore is poor and will keep further deteriorating, hence the decision taken. He also said there will be logistical challenges, but they cannot compromise on the health of the players and officials.
Wasim Khan said, “We have been keeping a close eye on air quality forecasts over the last two weeks. Following the sudden deterioration in air quality and now further expected air pollution in November, we have made a swift decision to move the matches scheduled in Lahore.”
“The early onset of hazardous pollution and subsequent poor air quality meant that the risk to keep matches in Lahore at this stage was too great. An early decision was made to ensure logistical challenges could be dealt with sooner rather than later. We cannot and will not compromise on the health and wellbeing of the players or officials,” he added.
Along with the PSL playoffs, the three T20Is between Pakistan and Zimbabwe are also shifted to Rawalpindi. Wasim Khan also thanked Zimbabwe Cricket for their support. Zimbabwe will take on Pakistan for three ODIs starting 30th October, and three T20Is to follow after that.
“I am grateful to Zimbabwe Cricket, the franchise owners, broadcast partners and our valued commercial partners for their understanding in supporting our decision. We also want to thank the federal and provincial governments, as well as law enforcing agencies for their understanding and continued support,” he said.