Exclusive: Javed Afridi, Salman Iqbal urge PCB to resume PSL in UAE
The six franchises will get to know the fate of the tournament on Friday after a meeting with the PCB
The six franchises of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will urge the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to resume the suspended tournament in the UAE, two of the major stakeholders confirmed to Khaleej Times on Thursday.
This year’s PSL was suspended in March after just 14 matches as the virus had breached the bubble, infecting seven people, including six players.
The PCB announced recently that the tournament would be resumed on June 1 and that all the remaining matches would be played at the National Stadium in Karachi.
But now with Pakistan seeing a disturbing rise in coronavirus cases, the franchises are skeptical of resuming the tournament in Karachi as they fear a repeat of the issues that led to the suspension of the league in March.
Javed Afridi, owner of the Peshawar Zalmi, and Salman Iqbal, who owns the Karachi Kings, said they were very much in favour of resuming the PSL in the UAE.
“We have already requested the Pakistan Cricket Board and the NCOC (National Command and Operation Centre) to bring the remaining matches to Dubai. We, the six franchises, want to have the remaining matches in the UAE,” Afridi told Khaleej Times on Thursday.
“In fact, I requested the PCB even before the start of the PSL 2021 to do the whole tournament in Dubai like last year’s IPL (Indian Premier League),” added Afridi.
“We missed it that time, but now the remaining matches, I am very much sure that we will have it in Dubai.”
The six franchises will get to know the fate of the tournament on Friday after a meeting with the PCB.
“Tomorrow (Friday), we, the all six franchises, have a meeting with the cricket board. So tomorrow by 3pm (UAE Time), we will have a clear picture. We will have an announcement (after the meeting),” Afridi said.
Dubai and the UAE, according to Afridi, offers the best option to stage premier sports events amid a raging pandemic.
“I think Dubai is the safest place for all these events now and it’s also the nearest region to Pakistan,” Afridi said, before offering an advice to the beleaguered Indian cricket board that was forced to suspend the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday.
“Also, I would advise the IPL as well to play the remaining matches in the UAE and finish their league on a good note,” Afridi said.
Meanwhile, Salman Iqbal felt it was not possible to resume the PSL in Pakistan amid the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the country.
“It’s not possible to have the PSL in Pakistan at this moment. Some overseas Pakistanis are expected to return as well for Eid holidays, so they (NCOC) said they won’t let PSL happen in Pakistan,” Iqbal told Khaleej Times.
“And I am a strong believer that cricket gives happiness and brings smiles to people’s faces. And because of this Covid, rather than not having the tournament at all (in Pakistan), we would like to have it somewhere else. And the UAE and Dubai are always here for us. I think Dubai is the best place.”
Iqbal also said that the players had been already been informed.
“Players have already been confirmed and mostly likely they will take the Emirates (Airlines) anyways. So we can get them to Dubai, that’s not a problem,” Iqbal said before hinting at an early start if the PSL moves to the UAE.
“I have suggested them to start the quarantine from next week, and since the IPL has been cancelled (suspended), so the (international) players are free now and we can actually start (the tournament) from the 22nd or 23rd of May (instead of June 1). Let’s see what happens!”
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