Cricket

Group of PSL players and staff to leave for Abu Dhabi via Bahrain

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Another hurdle overcome as the PSL strives to get underway next month

As many as 11 players and officials who were denied permission to board commercial flights headed to Abu Dhabi via Doha will now be routed through Bahrain to the UAE capital later tonight. An official update from the PCB announced the players and staff had boarded, and all formalities had been taken care of. It sees another hurdle overcome as the PSL strives to get underway next month and complete what remains of the tournament postponed in March this year.

Earlier today, the players and staff, including the Quetta Gladiators captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, were not allowed to board commercial flights going from Lahore and Karachi to Abu Dhabi via Doha early morning on Sunday. This was down to these persons not having the required clearances to board the flights, as per restrictions in place on travellers to the UAE amid the pandemic.

Five persons from this PSL contingent were cleared to fly, while the others had to return to their hotels where they have been in quarantine since May 24. In a late-night development, the PCB announced that 13 players quarantining at their hotels in Lahore have been permitted to return to their homes in Pakistan, with the board deciding to fly them to Abu Dhabi on commercial instead of chartered flights.*

As the PCB prepares to hold the remainder of PSL 2021 in the UAE, a batch of more than 25 individuals from both cities was supposed to travel to the UAE on a chartered plane. But the PCB, in a late decision, instead opted to put them on commercial flights, which nullified the quarantine protocols already in place. ESPNcricinfo could not establish what prompted the sudden change in travel plans.

In all, 202 players, support staff and tournament officials from Pakistan – that is, 57 persons from Karachi and 145 from Lahore – are already in Abu Dhabi for the tournament, flown over on a special chartered flight on May 27. ESPNcricinfo has learnt that there remain multiple individuals, including the franchise support staff, who are yet to get UAE visas though.

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