Zimbabwe T20s shifted to Rawalpindi, PSL matches to Karachi

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LAHORE: Pakistan batsman Haris Sohail hits out during a practice match at the Gaddafi Stadium on Friday. Pakistan are holding a training camp ahead of the upcoming home series against Zimbabwe.—M.Arif/White Star
LAHORE: Pakistan batsman Haris Sohail hits out during a practice match at the Gaddafi Stadium on Friday. Pakistan are holding a training camp ahead of the upcoming home series against Zimbabwe.—M.Arif/White Star

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has shifted the three Twenty20 Internationals from Lahore to Rawalpindi while the remaining matches of the Pakistan Super League will be played in Karachi due to the smog situation in the Punjab capital.

“Taking into consideration the health and well-being of professional athletes and match officials due to the recent deterioration in the air quality caused by an early onset of intense air pollution in Lahore, which is expected to deepen next month, the Pakistan Cricket Board today decided to relocate scheduled matches at the cricket headquarters to Rawalpindi and Karachi,” the PCB said in a statement on Friday.

“This rescheduling due to weather conditions impacts the three T20Is between Pakistan and Zimbabwe, and the remaining four HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 fixtures, which will now be held in Rawalpindi and Karachi, respectively, on the dates announced earlier.”

The T20 matches against Zimbabwe will be held on the same dates on November 7, 8 and 10. The PSL matches will be held as per previous dates from November 14 to 17.

PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said the board had “been keeping a close eye on air quality forecasts over the last two weeks.”

“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,” he was quoted as saying in the news release. “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 well-being of the players or officials.

“The decision to move matches from Lahore was not one that was taken lightly. For the sake of everyone involved and to ensure the remaining four matches of the HBL PSL and the three T20Is against Zimbabwe were completed without risk or interruption, it was important to move the matches.”

Meanwhile, the High Performance department has decided that players featuring in the first-class Quaid-i-Azam Trophy will be released following the third round match to spend the break at their homes. Before returning to Karachi for the fourth round action, which begins on November 20, the players will undergo Covid-19 tests at home and then another test upon arrival. Players with two negative tests will be allowed to integrate with their respective sides.

“We are mindful and careful of players’ mental health during the Covid-19 times and, as such, this is a good opportunity for them to return to their homes when the event takes an 11-day break, spend quality time with their family and friends, and rejoin on 18 November to complete the tournament,” High Performance director Nadeem Khan was quoted as saying.

Revised schedule:

Pakistan v Zimbabwe(matches to start at 3.30pm PST):

1st T20: November 7 (Rawalpindi)

2nd T20: November 8 (Rawalpindi)

3rd T20: November 10 (Rawalpindi)

Pakistan Super League (matches in Karachi):

November 14: Qualifier (Multan Sultans v Karachi Kings) (3pm-6.30pm); Eliminator 1 (Lahore Qalandars v Peshawar Zalmi) (8pm-11.30pm).

November 15: Eliminator 2 (loser Qualifier v winner Eliminator 1) (8pm-11.30pm).

November 17: Final (winner Qualifier v winner Eliminator 2) (8pm-11.30pm).

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2020