PCB-NCOC meeting to decide where remaining PSL 2021 matches will be held


ISLAMABAD , May 5  : An important meeting of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) officials around Eid will determine where the remaining matches of the PSL 2021 are held.

The matches are scheduled to be held in Karachi but concerns have been growing ever since Pakistan reported a surge in coronavirus cases and fresh restrictions on social gatherings were ramped up across the country.

An NCOC official has told that the NCOC is in constant touch with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) amid the volatile Covid-19 situation in Karachi — the host city for the remaining Pakistan Super League (PSL) VI matches in June.

“We stay in touch regularly with the PCB and all other sporting units planning to either host the events or requiring vaccination for their athletes. We are closely monitoring the whole situation. A meeting with the PCB officials is expected to be held around Eid — possibly just after the holidays to decide on the PSL VI matches scheduled in Karachi,” he said.

“No one should have any doubts that the NCOC has already started implementing the strictest of measures to stop the spread of the virus. The timely decisions are important to keep the country safe from the spread of the virus,” the official added.

The PCB had decided to host remaining matches of the league in the National Stadium of Karachi from June 1 after all franchises wrote to the PCB to do the same.

Now, it is believed that these franchises have also forwarded a request that remaining matches should now be shifted to the backup venue — UAE.

“Yes, such a request has been forwarded to the PCB and it is up to the board to decide,” one of the franchises co-owners said.

However, the PCB is in no mood to shift the tournament to the UAE. The board only has three options at its disposal at the moment; either to hold the remaining matches at the National Stadium or to shift these to a backup venue in UAE or to postpone these for when the coronavirus situation improves next year.

The second half of the current year is quite busy for the PCB as Pakistan is scheduled to play back-to-back series in the UAE, Bangladesh, West Indies besides participating in the T20 World Cup and hosting New Zealand and England.

Another reason why the PCB is not exactly thrilled at moving the venue to the UAE is that it has already booked around 300 rooms at a hotel in Karachi for PSL VI engagements and with untimely shifting to the UAE would put the board under a heavy financial burden.

PSL 6 postponed after players test positive for coronavirus

The sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was also postponed in March this year after a couple of players and officials tested positive for the virus in the bio-secure bubble.

Following a meeting with the team owners and considering the health and wellbeing of all participants is paramount, the Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to postpone the Pakistan Super League 6 with immediate effect, a statement by the PCB had read.

It said that the decision was made after seven cases were reported in the competition, which had started on February 20.

PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan had held a media conference at the National Stadium to discuss the tournament’s postponement.

He had said that PCB had to put the PSL on hold as they were not “effectively” able to enforce the standard operating procedures required for a bio secure bubble.

Wasim had assured fans that the PCB will be looking for “other windows” to hold the remaining matches of the PSL 6 at a later date.

“What’s taking place right now is that we are carefully and slowly exiting players from our environment so that we can safely get them out and they can start to travel wherever they need to travel,” explained Wasim.

“It’s firmly our belief that we will find a window and finish those [remaining] matches,” the PCB CEO had said.