Dubai: The embargo on flights from the UAE to Pakistan, in view of airports in Pakistan being closed down due to the escalation of tension between India and Pakistan, has kept the ongoing Pakistan Super League on tenterhooks. The league is to host the last leg of the event, starting from March 7, in Pakistan.
A PCB spokesperson said: “We are closely monitoring the situation. As of now, everything will go on as scheduled. The first match of Pakistan leg is to be held only on March 7 in Karachi, so there is still time.”
Only on Tuesday, the PSL organisers had handed over the PSL Trophy to PCB’s courier partners TCS to be taken to Karachi. This trophy is to be unveiled in Pakistan (National Stadium, Karachi) on the eve of the tournament final (March 16) by the captains of the two finalists.
Many foreign players had agreed to play in the Pakistan leg of the tournament this time, and it remains to be seen whether any of them now pull out due to the tension prevailing in Pakistan. No franchises have announced that any of their players have pulled out after the latest development. There have been suggestions if the entire PSL may continue to be held in the UAE, including the final, though no official statement is available.
Speaking to Gulf News, former Pakistan Test cricketer and commentator Basid Khan, said: “Under the present circumstances, we would not know how many foreign players would be ready to go to Pakistan now. It may all depend on meeting of the franchise owners whether they are willing to play without their foreign players in Pakistan or whether they want to play here with them.”
Speaking to the PSL website on Tuesday, AB de Villiers, a marquee player of the tournament, said: “I just hope we play some good cricket over there (Pakistan) and win some games. Ultimately, the fans want us to play good cricket and win games. Hopefully, we get to entertain them as well. So my message to them would be to come out in big numbers and support us and we will, hopefully, return that by winning some games.”
Colin Ingram, who hit a century in this edition to record the highest individual score, also said: “I am definitely going to Karachi. I was disappointed that last year we played in the playoff in Lahore and lost and didn’t get to Karachi.”
However, Quetta’s star batsman and former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson had said last week: “I am still talking with my family and the people whom I need to so I am not exactly sure what decision to make right now.”