After the abrupt postponement of the West Indies tour of Pakistan due to the emergence of Covid-19 cases inside the secure bio-bubble, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is extra cautious for the upcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL) seventh edition, scheduled to begin from January 27 in Karachi.
On Thursday, the Covid-19 outbreak in the West Indies camp had led to the postponement of the ODI series between touring West Indies and hosts Pakistan. The ODI series will now be played in June 2022.
After the development, PCB Chief Operating Office Salman Naseer said that the recent experience has made the board extra cautious for the upcoming seventh edition of the T20 League.
“There will be players coming from different countries, from different flights. So we will have to be extra cautious,” he told reporters in Karachi.
“We are looking to book the entire hotel during the PSL and disconnect the staff and everyone at the hotel from outside,” he added.
Naseer meanwhile, also stressed that there was no breach of the biosecure bubble and opined that the touring party might have contracted the virus somewhere while flying to Pakistan.
Notably, the upcoming PSL season will be staged in two phases with the first one to be held in Karachi while the second and last phase will be held in Lahore. Each phase will consist of 15 matches each.
Following an opening ceremony, defending champions Multan Sultans will take on hosts and 2020 champions Karachi Kings at the National Stadium in Karachi, which will begin at 7pm PKT.
Later, 2019 champions Quetta Gladiators will face 2017 winners Peshawar Zalmi on the following day.
Issuing a statement, the PCB had earlier said: “In first of the six double-headers to be played in the 32-day and 34-match tournament, Multan Sultans will take on 2020 runners-up Lahore Qalandars at 2pm PKT, which will be followed by the Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators’ fixture that will begin at 7pm PKT on Saturday.”
“Two-time champions Islamabad will be in action on Sunday afternoon when they will lock horns with Peshawar Zalmi, with the evening match to be played between arch-rivals Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars. After Karachi, which will host 15 matches from 27 January to 7 February, action will shift to the Gaddafi Stadium where the remaining 15 league matches and the four play-offs will be played from 10-27 February,” it added.
The PCB further announced that final will be held in Lahore.
“The PCB has designed the 2022 tournament in such a way that each side will play equal number of matches in Karachi and Lahore, as well as games under natural and artificial lights,” the statement said.
Commenting on the upcoming season, PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja had said: “I am delighted that the HBL PSL 7 schedule has been announced. This will now get the ball rolling with the teams to start planning and finalising their line-ups and the PCB increasing the pace of the operational delivery to ensure they provide quality playing facilities for the players as well as five-star experience to the fans and our valued commercial partners.”
“The HBL PSL 7 will also kick start what will be a bumper year for Pakistan cricket with the Australia men’s cricket team to play a full series in March-April with England men’s cricket side to tour Pakistan twice for white-ball and red ball cricket,” he added.