Pakistan Cricket Board decides to cut short PSL, play remaining matches without fans - GulfToday

Pakistan Cricket Board decides to cut short PSL, play remaining matches without fans


Pakistani cricket teams practice in an empty National Stadium, ahead of their match in the Pakistan Super League in Karachi on Friday. AP

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) will finish four days ahead of schedule with all remaining games being played in empty stadiums after 10 foreign players withdrew from the event on Friday because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Lahore will now host both semifinal matches next Tuesday and the final on Wednesday. The top team will play against No.4 in the first match while the second will be played between the No.2 and No.3 teams.

The remaining four league games will go ahead as scheduled in Lahore and Karachi until Sunday.

"Following an advice from the Punjab government, the Pakistan Cricket Board has decided the final-leg matches of the Pakistan Super League in Lahore will be played behind closed doors,” the PCB said in a statement.

Earlier, the PCB said English players Alex Hales, Tymal Mills, Jason Roy, James Vince, Tom Banton, Liam Dawson, Lewis Gregory and Liam Livingstone are among those who will be flying home.

Carlos Brathwaite of the West Indies and Rilee Rossouw of South Africa will also be leaving the Twenty20 event.

All players were given the option of returning home after a conference call between PCB officials and franchise owners on Friday.

"It is important to emphasize and clarify that the main concern of many of the players who have chosen to return home revolves around avoiding a potential situation where they might become stranded either due to flight cancellations or border closures in their own countries,” PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said in a statement. "We will continue to assess and review the situation and will not hesitate to make what we believe are the right decisions for everyone involved.”

There have been more than 128,000 cases and 5,000 deaths globally since the virus outbreak started late last year. Most people quickly recover from the virus after experiencing only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The PCB had already announced that the three remaining matches in Karachi’s 33,000-seat National Stadium will be played without spectators.

Peshawar Zalmi has been affected with the withdrawal of the foreign players after Brathwaite, Dawson, Gregory, Livingstone and Banton decided to go home. The team took the field in an empty stadium against Multan Sultans without any overseas cricketer in their playing XI. Multan was also without two key players after Vince and Roussow withdrew.

Associated Press

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