PSL 2021 restart in Abu Dhabi still unclear as players delayed in Pakistan

Late on Sunday night it was confirmed that a group of personnel had returned to their homes in Pakistan after a delay in issuing their visas

The start date and schedule for the remaining matches of the Pakistan Super League remain unclear as the organisers continue to battle with the complexities of getting all players and officials to the UAE.

While the vast majority of players and staff are already quarantining in Abu Dhabi ahead of the season resuming, the logistics of travel continue to cause problems.

Late on Sunday night, it was confirmed that a group of personnel had returned to their homes in Pakistan after a delay in issuing their visas.

The players had not been part of the group of more than 200 who had travelled on charter flights from Karachi and Lahore, and are currently in quarantine in Abu Dhabi.

Although the organisers say “approval has been obtained to fly the remaining 13 players and officials on commercial flights from Pakistan,” they have been moved back to their respective homes.

“The decision has been made to allow the players and officials to spend time with their families as there can potentially be some more delays in the issuance of the remaining visas,” a statement from PSL said.

“As soon as the visas are processed, the players will undergo the mandatory PCR tests before boarding the first available commercial flight.”

Five players and officials did arrive in the capital on Sunday, while 12 more took a longer route through Bahrain to arrive on Monday morning.

“We regret the inconvenience that has been caused to some players and officials, but these have been due to unforeseen circumstances and unexpected challenges,” Babar Hamid, the PSL’s commercial director, said.

“The PCB is working hand in glove with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Emirates Cricket Board, and trying its best to get all participants in Abu Dhabi in time so that we can hold the remaining tournament.”

The competition was suspended at the start of March due to an outbreak of coronavirus cases within several teams in Pakistan.

The remaining 20 matches were rescheduled, and due to take place in Karachi starting on June 1.

However, the decision was taken this month to relocate the remainder of the event to the UAE, with all matches set to be played at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Given the logistical challenges of the past weeks, a new schedule has yet to be finalised.

The Pakistan contingent are due to fly to the UK for international duty on June 22. As such, a schedule involving two matches per day, and possibly with a truncated playoff system, is understood to be under consideration.

Updated: May 31, 2021 08:21 PM

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