UAE could be an option for remaining HBL PSL 6 matches: Salman Iqbal

Monitoring Desk

KARACHI: Karachi Kings’ owner Salman Iqbal, while talking to Khaleej Times, revealed that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could be a viable option to host the remaining Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan Super League (PSL) season six matches after the tournament was postponed on Thursday due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

The 47-year-old claimed that he had suggested UAE as an option before the tournament had begun in the country. “I made a suggestion before the PSL started to shift the tournament to the UAE. But they wanted to do it in Pakistan because the SOPs [Standard Operating Procedures] were very strong,” Iqbal told Khaleej Times on Thursday.

“And even now, we suggested that instead of canceling the event, move it to Dubai. But the problem is everyone involved in the tournament will need to go into isolation again for seven days or 10 days as per the rules in the UAE. The players would not have been able to sustain such isolation again immediately. So that’s why we have suspended it. But I think for the next plan, yes, the UAE could be an option,” he added.

Iqbal blamed poor management which led to the SOPs not being followed during the event that caused a great deal of disappointment for everyone involved. “We were talking about that in the meeting. First, we figured out that the season had to be suspended. The second step was to manage all the foreign and national players’ travel, so they reach home safe. And after all that, we have to figure out the best time or the window to have the remaining matches of the season,” said Iqbal.

“I think the SOPs were not followed, the [Pakistan Super League] management was poor. They could have done a much better job. Yes, it’s disappointing, not only for the owners but for the crowds and the cricket lovers all around the world. It’s a big disappointment. But, of course, safety comes first,” he added.

The Karachi Kings’ owner believed that suspending the event was the best solution in the current circumstances. “They were worried. But we made sure that the SOPs were tightened. The first Covid incident happened three days ago. But I think the best solution that we decided in the PSL meeting at 11am (PST) was to suspend the tournament,” Iqbal said.

“We wanted to keep the players safe. Now the PSL management is working on the travel plan to safely send the foreign players to their respective countries after doing the fresh Covid-19 tests,” he concluded.