Pakistan Super League organisers hopeful tournament will resume in UAE next month

Tournament was suspended in March due to a number of positive Covid results and remaining fixtures could be played in Abu Dhabi

Wasim Khan, the chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board, remains hopeful the Pakistan Super League will resume in the UAE next month, even though the six franchises are bracing themselves for a further postponement of the competition.

Discussions have been ongoing just before the start of Eid over the possibility of playing the remainder of the T20 competition in Abu Dhabi.

The tournament was suspended at the start of March in Pakistan due to a number of positive Covid results emanating from teams within the supposedly bio-secure bubble.

The matches were rescheduled for June, but earlier this month the decision was taken to relocate from Karachi to the UAE because of the coronavirus situation in Pakistan.

On Tuesday, the government gave an agreement to proceed with the competition, pending a number of conditions related to maintaining a Covid-safe environment.

The criteria reportedly include a proviso that every participant travelling to the UAE for the competition has been vaccinated against the virus.

There remain a number of logistical issues to work through, as discussed in an online meeting between the PCB and the six franchises on Wednesday afternoon.

These include the viability of flying in personnel – both playing and broadcast – via charter flights from various points of the world, quarantine periods, as well as the costs that will be incurred.

It has now been agreed to delay a final call on whether the competition can go ahead for another day.

“Following detailed discussions in which all potential scenarios were reviewed and analysed, it was unanimously agreed to wait until the close of business on Thursday [UAE time] before a final decision on the hosting of the remaining matches is made,” a PSL statement read.

Khan said the sides are seeking clarifications on a number of issues if the competition is to go ahead in the UAE.

“In today’s online discussion, we updated the team owners that the PCB had been advised that the PSL had received approvals from the relevant authorities in the UAE,” Khan said.

“However, some clarifications on certain exemption requests are still awaited, which are expected at some stage on Thursday.

“The team owners agreed that if we do not receive clarity by Thursday afternoon, then they’ll have no other option but to request postponement of the remaining 20 matches.

“In the meantime, we will continue to liaise with the UAE government and the Emirates Cricket Board as they are equally keen for the event to be held in the UAE.”

It is understood the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi is likely to be the sole venue for matches, with all the participants staying on Saadiyat Island.

The company that oversaw the biosecurity operation for the 2020 IPL, which passed off successfully in the UAE, is due to be hired to oversee the same conditions for this event.

Updated: May 19, 2021 11:04 PM

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