The PCB has announced that the 2020 PSL will continue amid the coronavirus outbreak, although 10 overseas players have confirmed that they will no longer take part in the tournament.
The PCB announced on Thursday that the remaining matches in Karachi – from Friday onwards – will take place behind closed doors at the National Stadium. No player in the tournament has yet to test positive for the coronavirus and at the time of writing, there are 22 confirmed cases in the country.
While the PCB initially announced on Friday that the tournament was to go ahead as planned, it subsequently revised the schedule, with playoffs to be replaced with semi-finals. The semi-finals will be held on March 17 at the Gaddafi Stadium, with the final moved from March 22 to March 18. The side at the top of the PSL group-stage table will play the side that finishes fourth, with the runners-up taking on the side in third.
All players and player support personnel have been given the option to withdraw from the tournament. Sides will be allowed to name replacements for the players that have left, subject to approval from the Event Technical Committee.
“This remains an evolving and unprecedented situation with a number of moving parts that require constant and regular monitoring,” said PCB chief executive Wasim Khan upon the initial announcement that the tournament was to go ahead as planned.
“Today, the PCB and the team owners, as part of their duty of care, have decided to give all the players the option to decide if they wish to return home. Ensuring that the players feel comfortable remains paramount to the PCB.
“As of now, it is important to emphasise and clarify that the main concern of many of the 10 players and a coach, who have chosen to return home, revolves around avoiding a potential situation where they might become stranded either due to flight cancellations or border closures in their own countries.
“The PCB will facilitate their safe return and will ensure the same for all of the players and support staff personnel who decide to withdraw from HBL PSL 2020.
“As stated previously, we will continue to assess and review the situation and will not hesitate to make what we believe are the right decisions for everyone involved.”