The Pakistan Cricket Board moved three PSL matches from Lahore to Karachi after political and military tension between India and Pakistan.
PCB chairman Ehsan Mani says the decision was made “following the delayed opening of the Lahore airspace for commercial flights which has created substantial operational and logistical challenges.”
Last Tuesday, an Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan and carried out what India called a pre-emptive strike against militants blamed for a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops. Pakistan retaliated, shooting down a fighter jet Wednesday and detaining its pilot, who was returned to India on Friday.
“Due to the recent and prevailing uncertainty, we felt it critical to make a decisive decision at this juncture,” Mani said in a statement. “Ensuring all the matches are played in Pakistan falls in line with our vision to take all eight matches of the PSL to the people of Pakistan.”
Lahore was due to host three matches from March 9-12 but these will now take place in Karachi, along with five other PSL games.
Tournament matches are also held in the United Arab Emirates. The Pakistan leg of the PSL will now start two days earlier on March 9 with the final still scheduled for Karachi on March 17.
“This has been a difficult and tough decision, which has been taken following discussion and consultation with all the franchises and service providers,” Mani said.
PSL is an annual Pakistan domestic league competed between six franchises named after major cities — Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Islamabad, Peshawar, Islamabad and Multan.