PSL the blueprint for World Cup as Aussie tour looms
As the PSL prepares for a restart in the UAE, Pakistan's cricket chief looks ahead to the return of big-ticket tours to the country, including from Australia
6 June 2021, 06:30 AM AEST
Organisers believe staging the remainder of the Pakistan Super League in the United Arab Emirates will be a perfect rehearsal as the International Cricket Council plans for the Twenty20 World Cup to be moved out of India because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan also said he is hopeful the coronavirus situation in Pakistan will improve ahead of several big-ticket tours in the next 12 months, including from Australia for the first time in 22 years.
India has asked for a month to weigh up its options before letting the ICC know whether its viable to host the event in India in less than five months, with the UAE already lined up the UAE as the back-up venue.
The lucrative Indian Premier League had to be suspended last month when players inside the bio-secure bubble started testing positive for COVID-19 and infection rates soared in parts of the country.
The BCCI plans to finish off the IPL in the UAE prior to the World Cup and recently sent top officials to the Emirates to make preparations.
The PCB had to overcome logistical and operational obstacles to get the PSL’s remaining 20 matches going after it was postponed in March when several players and support staff tested positive for the coronavirus.
The tournament, which will feature eight Australian players, has been relocated to Abu Dhabi and will restart from June 9 with the final scheduled for June 24.
The tournament was scheduled to resume on June 5 but some operation hurdles, including strict quarantines rules in Abu Dhabi and a delay in securing visas for its production crew, mostly flown from India, pushed it back another few days.
Khan said all those obstacles could help ICC to plan the Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE.
"The logistical challenges that we found will be similar challenges, bringing more countries over from different parts of the world for the World Cup in the UAE," Khan said.
He believed most of the ICC member nations would be comfortable playing the event in the UAE.
"Ultimately it's a decision for the ICC, but right now, if you ask me, I would say that it's likely to probably take place in the UAE," Khan said.
Khan is hopeful the coronavirus situation will improve in Pakistan in coming months ahead of scheduled tours by New Zealand, England and West Indies.
Australia is also due to tour Pakistan next February for the first time in 22 years.
"Certainly in four or five months' time, we expect everything to be better in Pakistan from a COVID perspective," Khan said. "We've got a huge amount of cricket coming up and all the countries are relishing the opportunity of coming over."
Security concerns that prevented foreign teams touring Pakistan have subsided, with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and South Africa playing limited-overs and Test matches in Pakistan in recent seasons.
"Security is no longer the No. 1 issue that people are asking about," Khan said. "When South Africa were due to come and Zimbabwe, the question they were asking about was the (coronavirus) protocols - no longer about security."