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Pakistan Super League is back for its seventh edition as Fans are gearing up to watch the six teams struggle for glory over a span of 34 matches. Countdowns have already started as the Karachi Kings lock horns against defending champions Multan Sultans at the iconic National Stadium Karachi on 27 January 2022. But as the excitements continue to soar, there’s one thing which needs to be set clear – we are in the middle of a pandemic and this season being affected by the virus, like the last two, shouldn’t come up as a surprise.
Coronavirus Situation in Pakistan
The country got its first case of the virus in February 2020, and it has all been an exponential rise since then. 1.39 million cases have been reported and 29,137 people have embraced death. Although the situation right now isn’t as severe as it has been in the past, the presence of the new Omicron variant in the population comes with its own set of problems. With the experts already documenting their concerns about the rate of spread, it is not difficult to see how the T20 tournament can be affected by the virus.
It’s tough to be in the shoes of PSL’s management right now. Whatever decisions they take, and whatever policies they make are at the mercy of the pandemic’s situation. In fact, the tournament is already affected by the virus in passive ways. Firstly, the NCOC has allowed only 25% crowd in the stadium. Additionally, PCB had no choice but to organize the league at only 2 venues because of the bio-secure bubbles and the complications they involve.
Read about the Bio-secure bubbles here: What is Bio-Secure Bubble and its impact on cricketers?
Revised Playing Conditions for PSL 7
While Covid 19 affecting the PSL 7 isn’t an entirely new thing, with the schedules of the last two seasons being affected in one way or another, this step taken by PCB is surely new and should be appreciated. It shows that the think tanks have actually spent time thinking over the issues that can occur, and have come up with ways these effects can be dealt it.
The amendments to the playing conditions are as follows:
- If a team loses players due to positive results, it can seek the Technical Committee’s approval for replacement players from the reserve pool of players (Clause 184.108.40.206)
- For a match to go ahead, a team must have, at least, 13 players who are Covid-19 negative (Clause 220.127.116.11)
- Playing line-up must comprise a minimum of seven and a maximum of eight local players including an emerging player. However, if a team is affected by Covid to the extent that it is impossible for it to create a playing 11 in accordance with the relevant requirements, the requirements will stand waived to the necessary extent (Clause 1.2.5)
- The Fielding side must be in a position to bowl the first ball of the final over of the innings by the scheduled or rescheduled time for the end of the innings. If they are not in such a position, one fewer fielder will be permitted outside of the 30-yard circle for the remaining overs of the innings (Clause 13.8)
- There will be a reserve day for the final. If no result is achieved on the reserve day, then the side finishing on top of the points table after 30 league matches will be declared champion (Clause 16.11.1)
- TV umpire to call no-balls (Clause 21.5)
It is great to see that PCB has, even with all these obstacles and hindrances, managed to come this far and cricket fans around the globe would hope PSL 7 goes unimpacted from COVID 19 so that they can enjoy multiple uninterrupted days of exciting cricket.