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'Plans underway to stage remaining PSL matches this year' - PCB

The Pakistan Cricket Board is keen on holding the remainder of the Pakistan Super League later this year after the competition was hastily postponed just ahead of the knockout stages in March.

A few matches in the latter half of the HBL PSL 2020 were conducted without spectators to curb the spread of coronavirus before the tournament was aborted at the conclusion of the league stage following fears regarding a foreign player contracting COVID-19.

While the virus tests of the players and support personnel involved in the HBL PSL returned negative, the PCB decided to indefinitely defer the league.

Opinions over the fate of the competition differed with the owners of table-toppers Multan Sultans advocating for the franchise to be declared winners whereas other stakeholders opposed this idea.

It has now been confirmed that the PCB is committed to ensuring the league is completed in a conventional manner this year, though doubts remain over the availability of some of the overseas stars for the rejigged schedule.

This decision is one of the several important developments from the PCB's Board of Governors meeting on Friday.

Following the successful hosting of 30 HBL PSL matches across four venues, the PCB "plans to add a fifth venue in Peshawar for the 2021 edition, which is scheduled to be held in February and March 2021".

Additionally, the HBL PSL Department is set to be separated from PCB's Commercial Department and will be headed by PSL Project Executive Shoaib Naveed.

The PCB has also unveiled its 2020-21 budget, which has received a 10% reduction compared to the previous fiscal year as part of the board's austerity measures.

A large share of the budget has been reserved for infrastructure development since the PCB is looking to acquire hosting rights for multiple ICC events in the 2023-2031 FTP cycle.

“I am also grateful to the BoG for approving the capital expenditure budget, which is aimed at enhancing and improving our infrastructure so that we can provide better experience and facilities to our fans and cricketers, and also develop and upgrade our high performance centres across the country," PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said.

"This will be an important investment as we have submitted an expression of interest for some ICC Events in the 2023-31 cycle and quality cricket infrastructure will be one of the key factors that will determine if we are successful in earning hosting rights of any of the events."

Meanwhile, the PCB revealed that it has offered to swap hosting rights for the Asia Cup T20 with Sri Lanka Cricket as the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) expected to make a final call on this matter in due course.

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