The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) has recommended the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) host the remainder of PSL 2021 in the United Arab Emirates instead of Karachi.
This was also the demand of all six PSL franchises who had urged the PCB to shift the league out of Karachi due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
The PCB is yet to make an official request to the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) in this regard. However, the move could potentially create a score of problems for the cricket board.
First and foremost, the move will increase the cost for PCB by manifold, in terms of hefty stadium rent, travel cost, and high hotel rates. The hot weather could as well be a challenge for players and management.
Then there is a visa issue as UAE has placed a travel ban due to COVID-19. Recently, the Afghanistan team had to play series against Ireland without their star players due to the same issue.
Besides, Pakistan is set to tour England right after the PSL, eliminating the possibility of a tweak in the league’s schedule.
With all these difficulties, there is one bright side to this development that the foreign players will be more comfortable traveling to UAE, as compared to Pakistan due to the COVID-19 situation.
Meanwhile, rumor has it that Restrata, the company that is likely to be responsible for the bio-bubble arrangement for PSL, has already started its work despite the absence of a formal agreement. It is understood that their team has visited Karachi, twice for arrangements ahead of the event during the past few weeks.
The company won’t have any issues even if the tournament is shifted to the UAE, as they have an office in Dubai and have previously provided a bio-secure bubble for IPL’s last season held in UAE.