KARACHI: The remainders of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 seem to be back on track after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) — following a series of hiccups and several obstacles — got approval to land two flights from South Africa and India in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
These games were looking almost uncertain till Thursday afternoon when it came to light that the two chartered flights from South Africa and India — carrying cricketers and production team members — were not allowed to land in the UAE.
The uncertainty had forced PCB to change the schedule of chartered flights from Lahore and Karachi.
Two flights, nevertheless, took off at 5 pm, simultaneously from Lahore and Karachi, carrying 202 passengers, including players, officials, support staff, and other participants of the league.
However, 25 passengers — including former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed — had to stay back in hotels as they couldn’t get their visas on time.
Other cricketers who are yet to receive their visas include Mohammad Musa, Umar Amin, Mohammad Hasnain, Asif Afridi, Zaid Alam, Zeehsan Ashraf, Abrar Ahmed, Imran Randhawa, Aamir Khan, and Mohammad Haris.
The PCB is confident of receiving visas for the remaining passengers soon and it has announced it will arrange another chartered flight to transport the remaining players and officials to the UAE.
The cricket board took a breath of relief on Thursday evening when the UAE authorities granted permission to chartered flights from South Africa and India to land in Abu Dhabi.
These flights will be carrying South African cricketers and members of the production team.
The PCB is now in the process of finalizing the quarantine protocols for all the participants, with a source saying that after two additional days of room isolation in Pakistan, the quarantine in UAE may be reduced to five days with the PCB expected to consult its medical panel.
“UAE regulation for quarantine is five days. PCB medical board’s recommendation/PSL COVID protocol was seven days,” the source said.
If the production crew and South African cricketers manage to land in UAE by Friday afternoon, they will have Friday counted as the first day of their 10-day mandatory quarantine period.
The PCB is holding discussions to allow the production crew a bubble-to-bubble arrangement to make pre-production preparations before PSL games.
A final schedule for the remaining matches will be announced only after everything is streamlined and, according to PCB, it may take another day or two.