The fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was a special event for Pakistan’s cricket supporters since it was the first time that the tournament was being held entirely at home. But the raid of the coronavirus left the excitement less fulfilled as the business end of the PSL was suspended. It is not certain now when the semi-finals and final will be played as the cricketing world has remained deeply paralysed.
Besides the fans’ disappointment, both the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and PSL franchises are set to suffer massive losses because of the suspension of the final three games. The PCB was expecting the tournament to turn out to be a game-changer as cricket started returning to Pakistan in recent times after a long lull but the unfortunate turn of events meant it was not to be.
The organisers of the tournament also staged games in the tournament from March 13 behind closed doors following advice from the governments in Sindh and Punjab and it left a big scar on the coffers. The PCB also condensed the business end of the tournament by replacing the playoffs with semi-finals while the final was brought ahead by four days. But yet things could not be concluded, especially after England player Alex Hales was suspected with COVID-19.
According to a report in Cricket Pakistan, while the league matches of the PSL are insured but yet the PCB cannot file an insurance claim since the tournament stands suspended and not called off. It cited sources as saying that even if the tournament is eventually called off, it is not clear whether the claim will include natural disaster. The broadcasters are also likely to face big losses.
Rescheduling of games not easy
There are also questions over rescheduling the event for it takes into account the availability of the foreign players and space in a crowded international calendar. There were also suggestions that table topper Multan Sultans be declared the champions but not all franchises are buying the idea. Another option is to hold the three crux matches days before the next edition kicks off.
Karachi Kings owner Salman Iqbal gave a hint that the matches could be staged after the T20 World Cup scheduled in Australia later this year. The PCB is yet to finalise the financial accounts of PSL 2019 and hence the details of the financial performance of this year’s edition are likely to take some time to be revealed.