Heightened tension between India and Pakistan ever since terrorist camps are destroyed by air strikes in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Balakot has left the PSL overseas players concerned about visiting the country that is virtually like a war zone.
Uncertainty looms large over internal security and airport operations in Lahore. The city is closer to the international border with India. The PCB is mulling to host all the games in Karachi. However, there is no certainty if the overseas players will agree to visit in a country that is faced with a virtual war-like situation.
The PCB is also exploring the safer option of hosting all the IPL Season 4 matches in the UAE. As the time is running out, the PCB has already started working on the option. “The production and operations teams have been told to be on a stand bye if all the matches were to be played in the UAE. The PCB is also exploring the travel, boarding, lodging and stadium availability for the remaining games,” a production crew member told insidesport.co.
“However, it will not be easy to have everything in place without much hassle. Hotel, transport and all services are only booked till fifth of March. Our last crew were to check out on the sixth. Having games in Pakistan is the easiest option for the PCB. But we don’t know how safe is that. There is a concern in the crew as well,” said the source.
PCB had planned to stage eight PSL 2019 matches in Karachi and Lahore. While Lahore is scheduled to host three games, the other five – including the final, qualifier and the second eliminator – are scheduled for Karachi.
PCB will take final decision after consulting foreign players, franchisees and internal security agencies over the next couple of days. If Lahore becomes difficult, Karachi remains the first choice for the last eight matches. Though, for a worst case scenario the it has already mobilised resources for making arrangements to wrap up the league in the UAE itself.
If the games couldn’t be staged in Pakistan, the entire cricket fraternity in the country ends up a loser. Match tickets are sold and all arrangements were in place as the PCB was targeting the games to show it to the world that the Pakistan is a safe country to play cricket. However, the State policy to back terrorists has now made the nation more unsafe than ever before.