PCB struggle to create bio-secure bubbles amid plan to resume cricket activities

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Pakistan’s cricket chiefs are eyeing the resumption of both domestic and international action at home. Photo: File

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is looking to resume domestic and international cricket in the country but faces the issue of establishing bio-secure zones, The News reported. 

With the Covid-19 pandemic still persisting, the PCB is aware that it needs to find ways and means to safely resume national-level activities which include a couple of major domestic tournaments planned for September and October this year.

Board officials have been discussing the idea of resuming domestic cricket from September if the necessary approvals are granted by the government.

But those approvals are unlikely to be issued unless the PCB manages to convince the authorities that it will hold events in bio-secure conditions.

“The first task for PCB is to plan bio-secure conditions for major domestic tournaments. Once that target is achieved then the Board can think about having international matches on home soil,” the source said.

It’s not an easy task considering that PCB, already facing financial constraints, will need to dig deeper in its pockets to cover the additional expenses to create bio-secure bubbles even for domestic tournaments.

The two most important domestic events which the PCB wants to hold later this year are the National Twenty20 Cup and the prestigious Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the premier first-class tournament of the country.

The Board’s top officials are planning to stage the T20 Cup first as they want the event to take place ahead of the player draft for the 2021 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Though the date for the PSL draft is yet to be finalised, PCB is planning to have it ahead of Pakistan team’s departure to New Zealand in November this year.

According to sources, PCB has been working on the idea of hosting the T20 Cup in Rawalpindi and Multan in September.

“On paper, the Board can establish bio-secure conditions for players and officials in both Multan and Rawalpindi. But the biggest issue is that it would need much bigger funds to organise the tournament in bio-secure bubbles,” the source said.

Apart from financial issues, the board also lacks the expertise to create bio-secure bubbles. “That is also an issue but the Board is learning from England’s cricket board which is currently hosting West Indies. After the current series, the Pakistan team will be playing in England.”

For the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, PCB’s plan is to host the entire 2020 edition in Karachi.

According to sources, the PCB is of the view that it can hold the players draft for PSL 2020 in Karachi during the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. “The players’ draft has to take place before the national team leaves for the tour of New Zealand,” the source said. Pakistan are planning to hold the entire 2021 edition of PSL on home soil in Feb-March.

PCB struggle to create bio-secure bubbles amid plan to resume cricket