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PCB-NCOC meeting on the cards to decide fate of PSL matches

Sports

May 5, 2021

ISLAMABAD: An important meeting between the PCB officials and the high-ups of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) is on the cards around Eidul Fitr to decide on remaining matches of the PSL VI set to start at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi from June 1.

An NCOC official has told ‘The News’ 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. 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 said.

It is only after taking the guidelines from the NCOC that the PCB will be in a position to take the final decision.

Rumors are already there that the PCB wants to shift the remaining PSL matches to the UAE, despite the fact that all the participating franchises have already given their written consent to hold the remaining matches at the National Stadium from June 1. It was after their request that the board decided to hold the remaining League matches from June 1.

In a fresh plea 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.

It is believed that the PCB has no plans of shifting the event to the UAE unless and until guided by the NCOC. The PCB now has three options available — 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 better times next year.

The second half of 2021 is too busy for the national cricket team where it has to figure in back-to-back series in UAE, Bangladesh, West Indies besides participating in the T20 World Cup and hosting New Zealand and England. Any decision on the part of the PCB to shift the PSL VI matches to UAE would never help the board’s cause and objectives in the longer run. Now when there are no security issues in Pakistan, unnecessary shifting of the matches to the UAE would give a wrong impression to those nations which are planning to visit Pakistan for bilateral series in future.

The PCB 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. Hosting matches in UAE has previously resulted in heavy financial loss to the PCB and for respective franchises.