The PCB and the various franchises have finally agreed on a window to resume the tournament
The 2021 edition of the Pakistan Super League, which was suspended following a spate of Covid-19 cases among players and support staff, will resume once again in June. The PCB and the various franchises got together for a (virtual) meeting that is understood to have taken an hour long and in the end all parties were happy to restart the season in Karachi in two and a half months’ time.
The Pakistan board is also working to restructure their coronavirus protocols, which have come under severe fire in the wake of the season stalling in very abrupt fashion last week. A two member independent committee consisting of infectious disease specialists has been established which will both help the PCB get to the bottom of how an outbreak broke out inside a bio-secure bubble and advise them on stricter safety measures so that it doesn’t happen again.
The PCB and the six franchises met twice over the last four days to discuss a suitable window to complete the remaining 20 games. Initially, they zeroed on a slot spread over March and April but that was based on the board being able to convince Cricket South Africa to postpone their home series against Pakistan. It couldn’t. That tour will go ahead as planned later this month. So, the PCB settled on June as “the most preferred and practical” solution. The PSL will resume at some point between May 13 and June 26, after Pakistan tour to Zimbabwe and before their departure for England in the summer.
Pakistan, largely, don’t play any cricket in June when summer is at its peak. There was one exception though, in 2008, when they hosted their first ever Asia Cup between June 25 and July 6. This time they’ve agreed to play the PSL in this window and keeping player welfare in mind they’ve picked Karachi as the venue instead of Lahore because the weather there is considered to be milder even during the summer months.
With the threat of Covid-19 still around, it isn’t clear if PCB will once again use its own medical team to create the new bio-secure bubble. After lax management the first time, with several franchises reporting several breaches, it is quite likely that the board will outsource the job of setting up the bubble to a specialist firm.
The PCB said that their management “will now look into the operational and logistical challenges and revert to the franchise owners and stakeholders”
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent