ISLAMABAD: Pakistan organisers view the remainder of the country’s premier limited-overs league being staged in the United Arab Emirates as a perfect rehearsal for the International Cricket Council (ICC) in case the Twenty20 World Cup has to be moved out of India because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan said the PSL is an ideal precursor in terms of logistics and planning.
The ICC has already lined up the UAE as the back-up venue for the Twenty20 World Cup if India can’t stage it on home soil starting in mid-October.
India has asked for a month to weigh up its options before letting the ICC know whether it’s viable to host the event in India in less than five months.
The lucrative Indian Premier League had to be suspended last month when players inside the so-called bio-secure bubble started testing positive for Covid-19 and infection rates soared in parts of the country.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India plans to finish off the IPL in the UAE prior to the Twenty20 World Cup, and recently sent top officials to the Emirates to make preparations.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had to overcome logistical and operational obstacles to get the Pakistan Super League’s remaining 20 matches going. The tournament has been relocated to Abu Dhabi and will restart from June 9. The final is scheduled for June 24 before the Pakistan squad flies to England for a limited-overs series.
The PSL was postponed in March after several players and support staff were tested positive for the coronavirus.
The tournament was scheduled to resume on June 5 but some operation hurdles, including strict quarantines rules in Abu Dhabi and a delay in securing visas for its production crew, mostly flown from India, pushed it back another few days.
But Wasim said all those obstacles were overcome after the PCB worked closely with the Emirates Cricket Board, and it could help ICC to plan the Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE.
“The logistical challenges that we found will be similar challenges, bringing more countries over from different parts of the world for the World Cup in the UAE,” Wasim told the Associated Press. “The PSL is a perfect precursor leading into the ICC decision, which is strongly considering UAE as the venue, for the T20 World Cup.”
The top PCB official said most of the ICC member nations would be comfortable playing the event in the UAE.
“Ultimately it’s a decision for the ICC, but right now, if you ask me, I would say that it’s likely to probably take place in the UAE,” Wasim said.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2021