Pakistan is all set to see the complete return of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) to the country after many years of being held outside, owing to security concerns. The tournament will be held entirely in Pakistan this year, as opposed to previous editions. Four host cities, namely Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Multan will see six teams compete for the title in a double round-robin format. The fifth edition of the PSL is set to get underway on February 20. The tournament opener will see Quetta Gladiators take on Islamabad United in Karachi. Ahead of the commencement of the tournament, England batsman Alex Hales took to his social media to share a picture from his training session - a picture that isn't exactly a sight for sore eyes.
Alex Hales, who belongs to the Karachi Kings, took to Instagram to post a story in which smoke can be seen blowing from a building far from the UBL Sports Complex in Karachi where he was training. The England star posted the story with a caption that read 'very promising'. Alex Hales' sarcastic observation comes in the backdrop of security concerns of the players in the PSL despite repeated assurances from the PCB and its chairman Ehsan Mani.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani said in an official statement that after bringing Test cricket back, hosting Pakistan Super League in Pakistan was another major achievement. He added that he never had any doubts that it was Pakistan’s league and should be played in front of home crowds. He went on to say that they had made a commitment to the people of Pakistan at the end of last year’s event and was glad they had announced the tournament's schedule with four centres to share the 34 matches between them.
9 out of 34 matches will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi. Most number of matches (14) will be played in Lahore while Multan and Rawalpindi will host 3 and 8 matches respectively. The Qualifier between the top two sides will also be played at the National Stadium, whereas the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore will be the venue of the two Eliminators and the final.