PSL franchises call to transfer remaining matches to UAE

Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchises have demanded that the remaining matches of the league, which have been postponed due to increasing cases of coronavirus in the country, be shifted to the United Arab Emirates(UAE).

PSL franchises have formally requested the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to transfer the remaining matches to the Gulf state.

The board has also approached the National Command Operations Center (NCOC) officials in response to the franchisee's demand. According to sources of local media outlet, the PCB will take the final decision after consulting the NCOC and the government.

On the other hand, the UAE has become the centre of attention in the world of cricket where the transfer of the T20 World Cup is also expected. The transfer of the T20 World Cup from India to the UAE is expected to be announced in the next few days.

It may be recalled that PSL 2021 started on February 20 in Karachi and the matches of the event were scheduled this time in two cities of the country, Karachi and Lahore.

However, on March 4, after 7 players and other staff came to light, It was decided to postpone.

Due to the coronavirus, the opening ceremony of the event was also recorded this time, while the permission of the spectators was initially up to 20%, which was later increased to 50% depending on the situation.

14 matches of PSL 2021 have been played while PCB had announced to hold the remaining 20 matches in June last month.

Earlier, The schedule for the remaining matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) edition six has been finalized. The matches will start from June 01 while the final will be played on June 20.

As per details, teams will be quarantined for 7 days from May 22 to 28 while the practice sessions will be held from May 29 to 31.

Total of 20 matches are now remaining including the playoffs and the finals of the tournament.

Earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on March 4 announced the postponement of the PSL amidst a surge in coronavirus cases.

Here is a timeline of how events came to a head.

February 19

A day before the start of the sixth season, a player from Lahore Qalandars tested positive for Covid-19 and displayed symptoms.

February 19

One night before the opening match, Peshawar Zalmi coach Daren Sammy and captain Wahab Riaz breached the bio-secure bubble in place for all teams in Karachi hotel by meeting with their franchise owner Javed Afridi, who was not part of the bubble. The pair was told to go into a three-day quarantine and must return two negative tests before they can return to the team.

February 21

After Zalmi file an appeal with the PSL's event committee for a concession, Sammy and Wahab were allowed to reintegrate with the squad, despite not having served the three-day quarantine period. The pair returned two negative tests within 48 hours. The results of the second test arrived in the morning, delaying Peshawar's departure for the stadium. Riaz later lead his side to a loss against Qalandars, with Sammy in the dugout.

March 1

The game between Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators was first delayed and then postponed to the following day after Fawad Ahmed returns a positive test.

March 2

All players and officials underwent PCR tests. The rescheduled game moved ahead and the PCB said it will not conduct testing every fourth day, instead of weekly as previously planned.

March 2

Two more players - including Tom Banton - and one support-staff member returned positive tests. The PCB held a meeting with franchises to reassure them and reiterates its message that players must stick to the protocols. The board said it was happy that their bubble protocols are secure, although it does acknowledge "life in a bubble is very difficult and managing it is also very tough. This is happening in other different sports in the world - NFL, NHL, Formula 1 or Australian Open - breaches do happen but that doesn't mean the bubble is weak or there are loopholes."

March 3

Franchise owners and the league's management held a meeting to chart a way forward for the league after the positive tests. One option discussed was to forego the Lahore leg and play out the entire season in Karachi. At least two franchises raised strong objections to that idea. The PCB also announced that it will offer vaccines to all players and officials.

March 4

Three more players tested positive, and news came that Australian Dan Christian is leaving the tournament due to the COVID-19 cases. Soon after, the PCB said it is postponing the league with immediate effect. The board said the new cases were not from any of the teams who played in Wednesday's double-header matches, which ruled out players from Karachi Kings, Peshawar Zalmi, Multan Sultans or Quetta Gladiators.

March 11

Pakistan Super League 6, which was suspended in the wake of a spate of Covid-19 cases among players and support staff, will resume once again in June. The PCB and the various franchises got together for a (virtual) meeting that is understood to have taken an hour long and in the end all parties were happy to restart the season in Karachi

 It is to be noted that the third wave of coronavirus is going on in Pakistan which is more dangerous than the previous two and the daily rate of cases is increasing day by day and record deaths have come to light.

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