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PSL 2019

Pakistan leg of PSL to go ahead as planned: Ehsan Mani

The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani has reiterated that the final leg of the 2019 Pakistan Super League will be held in Lahore and Karachi as per the original schedule with all the six franchises and their international recruits throwing their weight behind the decision amid the ongoing tense situation between Pakistan and India.

The Pakistan leg of the PSL comprises eight matches, including three playoff and qualifiers and the March 17 final in Karachi.

The announcement was made in a press conference at the Dubai International Stadium ahead of Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings’ match.

“I just want to reconfirm that the eight PSL matches will be played in Pakistan as scheduled,” said Mani.

“I would like to thank my colleagues here sitting alongside me for their support in this. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the HBL PSL will continue as business as usual, as we planned. This is a unanimous decision of all of us,” he added.

Some of the foreign players had reportedly raised concerns about the tense India-Pakistan situation but all the franchise owners have confirmed that their players, who have committed to visit Pakistan, will come to play the scheduled fixtures.

Mani showed gratitude towards foreign players for maintaining their earlier commitment to Pakistan.

“I am also very grateful to our overseas players who are ready to come to Pakistan. All those who had given their commitment before the start of the event are still with us. They have been supportive and there is no one who has had a second thought.

“I am also grateful to all the support staff who are working at the ground. We have a few challenges as you know at the production side that one of our production partners pulled out overnight. But then, the team got together and made sure that we had a seamless transition and now I am absolutely confident that we will be in Pakistan as we had planned.”

The PCB was jolted soon after the start of the PSL when the original broadcaster IMG-Reliance pulled out of the production of the PSL after the first leg in Dubai amid rising India-Pakistan tensions following a deadly attack in Kashmir. The Cricketgateway website, which has the global streaming rights for the PSL, and DSports - the TV channel showing PSL in India, also stopped their services in India.

PCB roped in a consortium of Blitz and Trans Group to fill the production void. According to ESPNCricinfo, the new production company still largely comprises of the same staff including Indian nationals. There is still uncertainty over who will travel to Pakistan from the production team if there is any uncertainty with logistical arrangements for Indian nationals, but the PCB seems confident with its arrangements.

PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan vowed to put up a great show.

“I just want to say on behalf of myself and the executive team that after getting the support of the owners and working really hard we have been able to make this happen. It is a great strength of unity and passion and a lot of resilience which is based on what has been going for the last few days.

“So, it’s fantastic and we are getting prepared for the HBL PSL in Pakistan. We are going to put on a fantastic event for all the supporters and the grounds are going to be sold-out. It will be a unique event and we are looking forward to it.”