To be, or not to be: Fate of PSL 2021 matches uncertain again

— File photo

  • The sixth edition of Pakistan Super League is in the doldrums due to operational constraints.
  • Cricket authorities discuss latest situation in an emergency meeting.
  • Sources say next few hours are important for a decision on the staging of PSL.

KARACHI: The majority of players and staff members have departed for Abu Dhabi to take part in the remaining matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021, sources said, with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) adding that 25 people were unable to attain travel visas to UAE.

However, there remains an uncertainty of staging PSL 2021 as there are several logistical and management-related matters that the PCB needs to sort out — after several problems emerged in obtaining landing permission for chartered flights coming from South Africa and India.

Sources close to the matter informed Geo News that 145 from Lahore and 57 passengers from Karachi had departed for Abu Dhabi.

The players and officials are travelling to Abu Dhabi via chartered flights, which were scheduled to leave at 5pm.

The development comes after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), earlier in the day, had held an emergency meeting of franchise owners to review the situation in the staging of the sixth edition of the PSL, sources told Geo News Thursday.

During the meeting, the PCB officials sought two more hours to decide about an alternative venue while the franchise owners suggested postponing the tournament. 

Sources shared that holding the remaining 20 PSL matches was proving difficult under the current circumstances and the tournament may not be held in Abu Dhabi.

They said the PCB had got all the required approvals from the UAE authorities including that of chartered flights.

"Sharjah can be an option and will come under discussion during the meeting," they said.

PCB says exploring all possible solutions

The PCB is exploring all possible solutions to overcome these hurdles, the PCB said in a statement issued after its emergency meeting. 

The franchises were updated on the unanticipated delays in the grant of landing permissions for chartered flights from India and South Africa.

"The visas of at least four individuals are still awaited and they will depart for Abu Dhabi later."

The statement added that holding the remaining 20 PSL matches was proving difficult under the current circumstances.

According to sources, another meeting of the PCB and franchise owners will be held in the evening.

25, including Sarfaraz, unable to obtain visa

Former Pakistan and Quetta Gladiators captain Sarfaraz Ahmed were not able to get the visa to travel to Abu Dhabi, sources said, adding PCB was looking to resolve the matter.

Ahmed is among 25 players who have been denied the visa.

Fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain, PCB Media Department Officer Emad Hameed, Asif Afridi, Omar Amin, Muhammad Musa, Zaid Alam, Zeeshan Ashraf are among the players who have been denied a visa.

The PCB said players who will receive a visa after a delay will be taken to Abu Dhabi via a separate chartered plane.

PCB seeks shortened quarantine

Moreover, sources informed Geo News that PCB was seeking to shorten quarantine for those arriving in Abu Dhabi from Pakistan, proposing that UAE authorities consider two days quarantine in Lahore and Karachi as part of the total period required.

According to PSL protocols, the players leaving Pakistan had to be quarantined for seven days in Abu Dhabi.

PSL management will talk to the medical panel to amend the coronavirus protocols, sources said.

Departure delayed again

The departure of chartered flights to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the remaining matches of the PSL has been delayed due to some technical reasons.

This is the third time the players and officials' departure for the UAE has been postponed.

The flight was previously scheduled to leave for the UAE at 8:00 am on Wednesday, which was later rescheduled to Thursday, 3 pm.

And now the players and officials present at the hotels have been told to wait further till the authorities get the green signal for flights landing rights.

Two chartered flights carrying over 230 passengers — including cricketers, support staff, PCB officials and the production crew — will depart from Karachi and Lahore for the remaining matches of the sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League.

The board is planning to start the PSL remainders from 5th June but a final schedule is expected to be announced today.


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