PCB sets June 7 as tentative start date for PSL
The ECB has agreed to delay the start of Pakistan’s tour of England to accommodate the PSL.
The PCB announced that Pakistan, who were originally scheduled to arrive in England on June 23, will now land on June 25. There will be no change in the dates of the matches with the first game of the tour, an ODI in Cardiff, set to be played on July 8.
With the PSL now scheduled to be completed in the UAE on June 24 – and aiming for a June 7 start – the arrangement will allow those players in the Pakistan touring party to compete in the final matches of the tournament.
The turnaround will be tight. With the UAE – and Pakistan – on the UK’s red list, the tourists will be expected to quarantine for 10 days* after their arrival. While they are expected to be allowed to train in that period, it will provide little time between their official release from quarantine and the start of the tour. As things stand, there are 13 days between the Pakistan squad’s arrival and the first ODI in Cardiff.
With every passing day, the available window to host the remainder of the PSL continues to shrink, especially with Pakistan originally due to fly to England on June 22. The PCB had proposed shortening the tournament to fit it within the available window but ESPNcricinfo understands all six franchises were opposed to the idea of reducing the number of fixtures. A shorter tournament would have a commercial impact, as various agreements between the league, the franchises and all commercial partners had been made on the basis of 20 games remaining.
On Monday, the start of the PSL was hit by another roadblock when 16 members of the production crew member were moved from their hotel in Abu Dhabi by the Abu Dhabi government and shifted to Dubai. This threw another spanner in the works, with the league unable to start until the production crew completes its mandatory quarantine period.
For now, it remains the PCB’s intention to begin the tournament by June 7, subject to exemptions granted by the UAE’s National Crisis & Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA). The PCB said NCEMA will decide on Wednesday whether to grant an exemption to the production crew that sees them leave isolation on June 5. The seven-day isolation period for players and staff who arrived in the on UAE on chartered flights from Pakistan will also end on Wednesday afternoon.
(Additional reporting by Umar Farooq)
*0715 GMT, June 3, 2021: The story was edited to reflect that the Pakistan squad will have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in the UK, and not 14 as previously stated
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo