The whole tournament will take place in Karachi, with bio-security outsourced to a UK-based company
The window for the unfinished 2021 edition of the Pakistan Super League is likely to begin on May 23, with at least seven days of quarantine to start. The PCB had chalked out two options, with one involving double-headers every day from June 6 and a final on June 20. But ESPNcricinfo understands that the franchises preferred the other option, to have mostly one game per night from June 2, with a final on June 20.
The first option had eight straight double-headers with 16 matches scheduled in 10 days followed by three playoffs in two days with the final on Sunday. The second option covers 16 group matches in 13 days. There was a minor disagreement on the timing and the number of days of quarantine, which is still being worked out, with the final decision to be taken by the PSL management in due course.
The year’s edition was suspended only after 14 matches, following a spate of Covid-19 cases among players and support staff. It has been decided to resume the season in Karachi in two and a half months’ time with the PCB offering two windows after revamping their coronavirus protocols, which have come under severe fire in the wake of the season stalling in very abrupt fashion. The PCB decided to recruit the services of a UK-based safety and technology company to establish a bio-secure environment this time around.
After the postponement, the PCB constituted a two-member independent committee consisting of infectious disease specialists who will both help the PCB get to the bottom of how an outbreak occurred inside a bio-secure bubble and advise the board on stricter safety measures so that it doesn’t happen again. The head of the PCB medical department Dr Sohail Saleem has already handed in his notice in the fallout.
The new window will not clash with the Indian Premier League but the English season will coincide with it. It is understood that several English players are likely to miss out due to a clash with the County Championship and the T20 Blast. The PSL will have a round of replacement drafts closer to the event to allow franchises to have new players on their roster.
In June, Pakistan doesn’t host much cricket because of the intense heat. There was one exception though, in 2008, when they hosted their first-ever Asia Cup between June 25 and July 6. Karachi has been chosen as the venue because the weather there is considered to be milder during the summer months.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent