LAHORE: As the time is running short and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has not yet received a final decision from the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) regarding organising the remaining 20 matches of the HBL PSL 6 in Karachi or in the United Arab Emirates from June 1 to 17.
Though a meeting between the PCB and NCOC officials was held on Wednesday in Islamabad, the PCB is still not in a position to announce any decision. However, it is learnt that the NCOC has advised the PCB to wait as the Covid-19 cases may decline in the coming days.
However, the PCB, which has set the UAE as a back-up venue if it does not get the NCOC permission to hold the remaining PSL matches in Karachi, needs to get clarity of the matter as soon as possible mainly because shifting the venue from Pakistan to the UAE and starting the league on the scheduled date of June 1 will be no easy task.
As the government has announced Eidul Fitr holidays from May 8 to 15, in the remaining 15 days it will not be possible for the PCB to complete the arrangements, either for Karachi or the UAE as a number of steps have to be taken regarding logistics, visas, bio-secure bubble and quarantine.
Moreover, in the latest scenario in which the cash-rich Indian Premier League has also been suspended in India due to Covid-19 despite all the precautionary measures against the virus in place, the response of international players may also be in negative to travel for another league. The trouble world’s top cricketers of Australia, New Zealand, England South Africa faced in returning to their home countries from India may force the players, who have agreed to participate in the remaining PSL-6 matches, to change their mind.
Under the prevailing circumstances, sources said, the PCB may think to postpone the schedule of remaining 20 PSL-6 matches for an indefinite period or to abandon altogether this year’s season.
Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2021