PCB approaches Emirates Cricket Board to stage remaining matches of PSL in UAE - GulfToday

PCB approaches Emirates Cricket Board to stage remaining matches of PSL in UAE


All the six franchise owners approached the Pakistan Cricket Board and requested it to host the remaining matches of the postponed PSL in the UAE. File

The Pakistan cricket Board (PCB) hopes to finish its Twenty20 league in the UAE Emirates next month.

PCB officials and the six franchise owners had a virtual meeting on Friday after which it was decided to approach the Emirates cricket Board as a possible host.

Following which the 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 UAE.

Pakistan is in the middle of a third wave which authorities say is worse than the previous ones. Pakistan on Friday reported 140 deaths from the coronavirus in 24 hours and goes into a national lockdown from Saturday until May 16 to force people to stay home during the Eid Al Fitr festival which is celebrated at the end of Ramadan.

The PSL was suspended on March 4 after seven Covid-19 cases had come to light. The PCB had immediately put the tournament, which commenced on Feb.20, on hold.

Last year too, three play-off ties and the final were postponed after England’s Alex Hales contracted the dreaded virus. The games were rescheduled to November and held behind closed doors, where Karachi Kings emerged champions.

On Friday, the six franchises had a ‘360-degree discussion, which also considered feedback from the National Command and Operation Centre,’ according to a statement by the PCB.

The PCB said that UAE had emerged as a preferred venue for the remaining 20 matches.

“(Since) the Pakistan men’s national team has to depart for the United Kingdom on June 23, the PCB will use this time to work with the ECB to check if the event can be successfully delivered (in the UAE) within the available time.

“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,” the PCB said.

PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said that, 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 PSL 6.”

Pakistan is due to tour England on June 23 and the PCB wants to complete the PSL before the national team departs to England.

PCB completes first phase of vaccination drive: Meanwhile, the PCB) on Friday completed the first phase of its Covid-19 vaccination drive in which leading cricketers across all three formats and support staff were vaccinated over a period of two months.

In the first phase, 57 male players, 13 men’s team officials and 13 National High-Performance Centre (NHPC) men and women coaches were vaccinated.

A number of franchise players and support staff besides PCB match officials involved in the February-March phase of the Pakistan Super League (three match referees and three umpires) were also vaccinated.  The vaccination drive began on March 4 in Karachi and concluded on May 6 when eight players -- who are part of Pakistan’s squad in the ongoing Test series against Zimbabwe -- were given second doses in Harare.

In the next phase, the remaining domestic male cricketers, international women cricketers, age-group cricketers and support staff of the domestic, national women and age-group teams will be vaccinated. The second phase is expected to commence shortly.

PCB Chief Operating Officer Salman Naseer said, “The PCB has a duty of care towards its cricketers, especially in the ongoing pandemic, and keeping that in mind we requested the NCOC (National Command and Operation Centre) for vaccines during the Pakistan Super League 6.

“After the initial round of vaccination in Karachi, we focussed on getting the remaining members of the men’s squad, who were not involved in PSL 6, vaccinated before the tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe.”

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