LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is considering a proposal to limit the next edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) to two venues, Karachi and Lahore, due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation, it has emerged.
According to sources, though it was not an approved option but most likely that all the 34 matches of PSL 2021 would be staged in Karachi and Lahore, with both the cities hosting equal number of games. Karachi will host the first 17 matches while the remaining 17 games will be held in Lahore.
Last year, the PCB organised all 34 matches of PSL in Pakistan for the first time since the inception of the league in 2016, and games were staged at four venues -- Karachi, Multan, Rawalpindi, and Lahore.
The PCB has planned to also use Peshawar as the fifth venue for the 2021 PSL edition, but the disturbing Covid-19 situation across the country is forcing the Board to keep the action to only two cities as a precaution against the pandemic.
However, holding 17 matches in one city may hit the popularity of the league and will put extra workload on law enforcement agencies of providing security non-stop for 15 days.
At least Multan or Rawalpindi should be included to hold 11 matches in Karachi and Multan/Rawalpindi each in a row and the remaining 12 matches including the final in Lahore.
Being situated between Karachi and Lahore, though Multan can be a viable third venue, shortage of quality hotels there may create logistical problems as providing accommodation to six teams and their supporting staff would not be easy. But this is not the problem in Rawalpindi.
After studying all options regarding venues, the PCB will put this proposal before the owners of six PSL franchises in order to take a final decision.
Meanwhile, according to a PCB spokesman, all the franchises have cleared their dues to become eligible to field their teams in the 2021 PSL scheduled for February-March.
Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2020