Shifting PSL to UAE to weaken efforts of reviving cricket in Pakistan: Zaka

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LAHORE: Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf says all the matches involving Pakistan including the Pakistan Super League (PSL) should be held in the home country, otherwise, Pakistan cricket will again go back to dark days.

“The credit goes to army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for ending terrorism and making international cricket viable and playable in Pakistan. However, by shifting the matches [from Pakistan] to the UAE, all good work done in the past in this regard to bring cricket back to Pakistan will be wasted,” Zaka said while talking to Dawn late on Wednesday.

The former chairman said instead of moving forward with regards to bringing cricket back to Pakistan, the PCB was going backwards by holding PSL games abroad.

“Moving the PSL to the UAE must have increased the event cost manifold plus there is a possibility of incurring financial losses, which ultimately PCB’s exchequer will bear,” he said.

Zaka said under strict SOPs, the PCB could organise the PSL show in Pakistan noting it by now must have learnt the lessons after committing mistakes in February-March by not properly implementing the Covid-19 SOPs during the Karachi leg of the league.

He continued, “The PCB has invited New Zealand, Australia and England [for bilateral series] during the coming season. By hosting the remaining PSL matches in Pakistan it could prove the utility and viability of its bio-secure bubble system and the country’s ability to hold international matches even during the pandemic.”

While lamenting that the current situation of the PSL was not good for its branding, Zaka said the PCB should have adopted a better line of action for organising the remaining 20 matches without any hassle by waiting for the NCOC permission to hold the games in Karachi as per the previous plan.

“Now the latest situation has emerged due to Abu Dhabi health ministry’s decision which is not good as its objections cannot be removed in two days time and the PCB looks helpless as nothing is in its control,” Zaka regretted.