PSL 2021: Final call on UAE hosting tournament to be taken on Thursday

Renin Wilben Albert

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed that a decision on whether the remainder of the Pakistan Super League (PSL 2021) can be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be taken on Thursday.

Reports had earlier emerged claiming the UAE government had given the tournament organizers the go-ahead to host the remaining games in Abu Dhabi. However, the PCB may be forced to postpone PSL 2021 due to operational issues.

According to a release from the PCB, the board and the six franchise owners held a virtual meeting to discuss the operational planning and delivery of the remaining PSL matches, which are scheduled to be held in the UAE from 1-20 June.

Following discussions, it was unanimously agreed that they would wait 24 hours before taking a final decision.

PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan was quoted as saying:

“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. 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,” he added.

There was hope for PSL 2021’s resumption earlier in the day following UAE’s clearance to host the event. The Emirates government had put forward a special condition, stating that everyone involved in the tournament should be vaccinated against COVID-19.

A total of 20 matches are yet to be played in PSL 2021. Like with the IPL earlier this month, PSL was suspended midway in March after a number of COVID-19 positive cases emerged in the bio-bubble.

The rescheduled PSL 2021 was initially planned to be held in Pakistan from June 1-20, with all games taking place in Karachi. However, it was soon decided that restarting the event in Pakistan would not be safe.

PSL 2020 was also affected by the pandemic

Last year’s edition of the PSL was also affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the concluding matches having to be postponed.

The PCB decided to temporarily down the shutters on PSL 2021 after seven positive cases were reported.

Controversially, Peshawar Zalmi captain Wahab Riaz and coach Daren Sammy were found to have breached COVID-19 protocols. However, they were allowed to join the team after testing negative for the virus.

Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar was extremely critical of the manner in which the PCB conducted PSL 2021. In a video posted on his YouTube channel, Akhtar questioned the PCB's medical panel as well as PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani.

A few days ago, Pakistan legend Javed Miandad also blasted the PCB for trying to organize PSL 2021 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Miandad believes this is not the time to play cricket, but to save lives.

Edited by Arjun Panchadar


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