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Sarfaraz Ahmed stopped from boarding flight to Abu Dhabi for PSL 2021

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Sarfaraz Ahmed, the former Pakistan captain, was among several players and officials who were not allowed to board commercial flights from Lahore for Abu Dhabi via Doha. The Pakistan Cricket Board will now reportedly route them to the United Arab Emirates via Bahrain.

The PCB has been facing logistical hurdles in getting players, support staff and broadcast crew to Abu Dhabi for the Pakistan Super League. Sarfaraz, among others, was not allowed to board the flight as he did not have the required clearances required as per pandemic restrictions in the UAE.

Only five people were cleared to fly eventually, while the rest had to go back from the airport to their hotels where they had already been in quarantine. The PCB later announced that 13 players undergoing quarantine in hotels in Lahore had been allowed to go back to their homes. They were supposed to travel to Abu Dhabi on a chartered flight but the PCB will now arrange to send them to the UAE on commercial flights.

According to ESPNcricinfo, more than 200 players, support staff and officials from Pakistan have reached Abu Dhabi via a chartered flight on May 27. However, several others are still to obtain visas.

Those who have travelled from Pakistan will have to quarantine for seven days in Abu Dhabi before entering the PSL bio-bubble. Travellers from South Africa and India, mainly the production crew, will have to isolate for ten days.

The PSL was suspended by the PCB in March after some players and officials contracted Covid-19. The PCB had planned to resume the PSL by June 1, but it is not clear whether it will be able to stick to the date given the issues it is facing in transporting players.

The Pakistan national team players will also have to leave for the UK from Abu Dhabi on June 22, so the PCB has limited time to finish the remaining 20 games of the PSL. 

Pakistan are scheduled to play three ODIs and three T20Is against England in July.

Featured Image: AFP/ Rizwan Tabassum

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