Logistical concerns were cited as a reason behind the decision
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today announced the eight Pakistan-leg matches of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi.
This late change, caused due to a situation beyond the PCB’s control, has also resulted in a tweak to the Pakistan-leg matches, which will now commence from March 9 with all eight matches to be played in as many days.
The decision has been made following the delayed opening of the Lahore airspace for commercial flights, which has created substantial operational and logistical challenges relating to the delivery of the three Lahore matches, which were originally scheduled for March 9, 10 and 12.
Some of the key challenges that PCB has faced as a result of the delayed opening of the Lahore airport have included securing production equipment and the commitment of broadcast crew, as well as finalising the logistics for the officials and teams.
Speaking on the development, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said: “This has been a difficult and tough decision, which has been taken following discussion and consultation with all the franchisees and service providers to ensure certainty and clarity on the event as well as delivery of the remaining matches as per the PCB’s own very high standards.”
He added: “Due to the recent and prevailing uncertainty, we felt it critical to make a decisive decision at this juncture. Ensuring all matches are played in Pakistan falls in line with our vision to take all eight matches of the HBL PSL 2019 matches to the people of Pakistan.”
Mani also said that paucity of team was one of the reasons behind the decision.
“We had considered the option of shifting the dates of the eight matches in Pakistan, but because the Pakistan cricket team has to leave for the UAE on March 19 for the ODI series against Australia, this was not possible,” he said. “We also looked at swapping matches between Lahore and Karachi, but paucity of time would have rendered this option unworkable.”
The franchises have also backed PCB’s decision to move all eight matches to Karachi.
“We have spoken with the franchisees, who have backed this decision and have reinforced that all their foreign players will feature in the last eight matches of what has been an outstanding and highly competitive tournament that has been thoroughly enjoyed by the fans and the players,” he said. “The PCB appreciates and applauds the support of the franchisees as well as the players, who understand that the evolving situation has forced us to make these amendments to the event schedule.”
According to the revised schedule, the Pakistan-leg matches will start on March 9 with Lahore Qalandars meeting Islamabad United at 7pm PST.
The only double-header will be played on 11 Match when Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans will go head to head at 2pm. This will be followed by Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi match which will start at 7pm.
The Qualifier between the number-one and two placed sides will be played on March 13, while Eliminator 1 between the third and fourth-placed sides will take place on March 14. Eliminator 2 between the loser of the Qualifier and winner of Eliminator 1 will be played on March 15.
The final will take place as per schedule on March 17, with the first ball being bowled at 7pm PST.
Revised event schedule:
Saturday, March 9 – Lahore Qalandars v Islamabad United (match starts 7pm PST)
Sunday, March 10 – Karachi Kings v Quetta Gladiators (match starts 7pm PST)
Monday, March 11 – Lahore Qalandars v Multan Sultans (match starts 2pm PST); Karachi Kings v Peshawar Zalmi (match starts 7pm PST)
Wednesday, March 13 – Qualifier (1 v 2) (match starts 7pm PST)
Thursday, March 14 – Eliminator 1 (3 v 4) (match starts 7pm PST)
Friday, March 15 – Eliminator 2 (match starts 7pm PST)
Sunday, March 17 – Final (match starts 7pm PST)
The PCB will refund tickets for all Lahore matches as per the face value of the tickets with more details to follow in due course.
With the slight amendment in the match schedule for Karachi matches, further details will be provided for existing match ticket-holders and for purchasing of tickets for the additional games.
Multan Sultans' bowling coach Azhar Mahmood spoke to Cricket Pakistan in an exclusive interview20/Jun/2021