The fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was held entirely in Pakistan but the tournament could not be successfully concluded because of the coronavirus scare. The business end of the PSL saw changes as the regular playoffs were changed into semi-finals and final but yet they were suspended as the virus’ outbreak turned serious and a number of foreign players left for home.
Salman Iqbal, owner of the Karachi Kings franchise said the last three games of the PSL 5 are likely to take place later this year, after the T20 World Cup in October-November. The games now stand indefinitely postponed following a meeting between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the PSL franchises that took place on Tuesday.
The decision to postpone the tournament was hastened by the fact that one overseas player — England’s Alex Hales — was suspected with the virus. Multan Sultans, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi are the four teams that qualified for the semi-finals. The Kings are supposed to take on the Qalandars in the second semi-final.
Speaking to The National, Iqbal said the franchises are in touch with the PCB over finding the most feasible window to hold the knock-out stage.
‘Semi-finalists in talks with PCB’
“We are planning to do a seven-day event for the semi-finals and the final. The four teams, who are part of the board of PSL, are talking to the PCB about it. We think there is a window of seven to eight days after the World Cup in Australia that might be possible,” he was quoted as saying.
He also said that everyone related to the Kings, including cricketers and support staff, have tested negative for the aforementioned virus. The Kings issued a statement with Hales on Tuesday in which it was said that he has experienced COVID-19 symptoms and is yet to be tested.
“We have all been tested, the team and the Karachi Kings management, and all results have come back negative,” he said. “Everybody who was near Alex is negative. I spoke to Alex the day before yesterday, late at night, and he said he has symptoms.’’ The PCB has also suspended all its domestic competitions and cricket activities.