Rawalpindi will host the most number of games in the upcoming eighth edition of the PSL, starting February 13 in Multan with a contest between Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars, the defending champions. A total of 14 matches will be played in Rawalpindi, while Karachi (nine), Lahore (nine) and Multan (five) will host the remaining games. The final, on March 19, as well as the playoffs prior to it, will all be played in Lahore.
This season marks a return to four venues for the league after it was restricted to two centres in the past two seasons because of Covid-19. Najam Sethi, head of the PCB’s new management committee, had earlier said that Quetta would be included in the list of venues for the first time, but the city has been omitted from the fixtures’ list released on Friday. Sethi, addressing a press meet, said “logistical concerns” had led to a change of plans for the PCB.
It would have beeen the first time as a PSL venue for Quetta – the capital of Balochistan, Pakistan’s least populous province but its largest by area – after the city staged its only ODI back in 1996, a three-wicket Pakistan win over Zimbabwe.
Quetta has hosted domestic cricket since 1954 but has often been neglected because of a lack of infrastructure and the security situation over the years. Cricket has not been as popular in Balochistan as elsewhere in Pakistan, historically, and only one player from the province, the opening batter Shoaib Khan, has gone on to play for Pakistan – he played four T20Is during a T20 quadrangular in Canada in 2008.
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