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Shifting PSL matches to UAE a big mistake: Khalid

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LAHORE: Former chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Khalid Mahmood on Wednesday suspected the Indian lobby to be behind the hurdles that are being created by Abu Dhabi authorities in holding the remaining 20 matches of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL).

However, at the same time he also termed the decision of shifting the league from Pakistan to the UAE as wrong and taken in haste which, he said, has made a mockery of affairs.

Talking to Dawn on Wednesday, Khalid said: “As everyone knows that Indians have a grudge against Pakistan Super League (PSL) which has become a very successful brand. They have also not invited any of the Pakistani players from their own Indian Premier League and since a good number of Indians are working in the UAE on key posts, there is a possibility that they are creating so many hurdle for the PCB in visa issuance, flights etc.”

“I think the PCB should have waited for the advice of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) and it should not have shifted the event from Karachi to the UAE in such a haste,” observed Khalid.

He added that since the Covid-19 cases are also on decline in Pakistan, it was quite possible for the PCB to hold the event in Karachi as per administration and the PCB is looking helpless,” lamented Khalid the previous schedule of June 1-20.

“The PSL was quite possible in Karachi under the strict SOPs,” he said. “It was a big mistake of the PCB to shift the event from Pakistan to UAE as now all things are in the control of Abu Dhabi’s “Look how big an issue it has become in UAE to issue visas to the players and officials and how much delay has happened in allowing the crew of broadcasters [from India and South Africa],” rued Khalid. “Besides that, our players were humiliated including former captain Sarfaraz Ahmad who had to return home from Karachi airport after not getting the clearance from Abu Dhabi,” he said.

“All these things are making a mockery of the affairs and spoiling the image of PSL which has become a a very popular brand of Pakistan.”

Khalid insisted that the PCB should have shifted the event to the UAE only after getting all assurances well on time from all the concerned authorities to avoid any of the problems.

To a question Khalid said it was very surprising that once the UAE had issued the visas to Indians and South African broadcasters crew, how the health ministry came in to raise objections over their presence in Abu Dhabi?

It may be mentioned that the PCB, after the intervention of the foreign office, finally got the visas, especially of Indian and South African’ broadcasters. And when they were in quarantine in Abu Dhabi, the health ministry raised objections over their presence as they left the Abu Dhabi authorities was still on at the time of filing this report. state for Dubai.

On Wednesday, a meeting of the PCB official with the To a question, Khalid said that if the league is shifted to Sharjah from Abu Dhabi, that would be another major setback for the PSL’s image.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2021

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