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Friday, October 30, 2020

Final leg of Bangladesh’s tour of Pakistan postponed

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The Pakistan and Bangladesh cricket boards have agreed to postpone the upcoming third leg of their series, of one ODI and a Test in Karachi in early April, in light of growing concerns around the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and travel restrictions around the world.

The Bangladesh squad was due to arrive in Karachi on March 29 to play an ODI on April 1 and the second World Test Championship match from April 5. The boards will explore windows to complete the series as well as fit in another Test match, scheduled for March 2021.

Despite the cancellation of the tour, and of cricket and other sports events around the world following the spread of the pandemic, the PSL has continued to run after getting permission from the government of Punjab – the games are being played behind closed doors to empty stands, and the schedule has been tweaked to shave four days off the original.

As such, though, the province – of which Lahore, the venue of the knockout matches, is a part – is under Section 144, a law that bans all private and public sports activity as well as other public gatherings. But, notwithstanding the regulations, both the National Stadium in Karachi and Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore have had a large presence of mediapersons during the games, and post-match presentation ceremonies and press conferences have been fairly crowded with representatives of the PCB and other stakeholders in attendance.

As for the overseas presence in the PSL, over a dozen cricketers have left Pakistan for home, with Chris Lynn becoming the latest to leave, his decision becoming public soon after he hit a match-winning century against Multan Sultans to put his team Lahore Qalandars in the PSL knockouts for the first time.

The PCB has responded to the exodus of foreign players by allowing teams to complete their XIs with local players as needed, and also replace the overseas players with local ones.

Meanwhile, the PCB has also indefinitely postponed the domestic Pakistan Cup one-day tournament, featuring six provincial teams, which was scheduled to start on March 25 and run until April 24, with matches played in Karachi, Multan, Lahore and Faisalabad.

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