Eleven PSL players and officials, including the former captain of Pakistan cricket team Sarfaraz Ahmed, faced embarrassment on Sunday morning at Lahore and Karachi airports due to PCB not being able to get their visas on time. Sarfaraz Ahmed was among the 11 players and office bearers who were denied permission to take a commercial flight to Abu Dhabi.
The remaining matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 are to be played next month in Abu Dhabi itself. According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, “11 players and office bearers, who were going to participate in the PSL early on Sunday, were not allowed to board the commercial flight from Lahore and Karachi to Abu Dhabi via Doha.” Quetta Gladiators’ captain Sarfaraz Ahmed is also included in these 11 people.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is facing ‘logistical’ issues ahead of the resumption of the PSL in Abu Dhabi. This also includes obtaining a visa. The PSL was postponed in early March after players and office bearers were found to be Corona positive. Then only 14 matches of the tournament were played.
According to the report, ‘Only five persons from this PSL team were allowed to leave, while others had to return to their hotels. All these people are in quarantine in that hotel since May 24. More than 25 players from both the cities had to travel to UAE by chartered flight. “But the PCB opted to send them via commercial aircraft, which superseded the earlier segregation protocol rules,” the report said.
In total, 202 players, support staff, and tournament officials from Pakistan (57 from Karachi and 145 from Lahore) are already in Abu Dhabi for the tournament. All of them took off in a chartered plane on May 27. According to the ESPNcricinfo report, there are many individuals, including the franchise support staff, who have not yet received a UAE visa.
PCB is preparing to start PSL from June 5. However, the schedule of the remaining matches has not been released yet. The Pakistan cricket team is scheduled to leave for a tour of England on 22 June. Pakistan has to play a series of three ODIs and three T20 matches in July there. The ODI series will start from July 8 while the T20 series will start from July 16. In such a situation, if the PSL matches are not held in the current window, it will be difficult to have the remaining matches.