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LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday announced the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has allowed 20 percent crowd to attend the HBL Pakistan Super League 2021, which will be played in Karachi and Lahore from 20th February to 22nd March.

The decision means around 7,500 ticketed spectators will be allowed access inside the National Stadium per match day, while around 5,500 will be able to attend each match day at the Gaddafi Stadium.

During the course of the PSL-2021, the NCOC and the PCB will continue to work together and monitor the situation before a decision to increase crowd numbers for the three playoffs and the final is made, a PCB spokesman, said.

PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said: “I am thankful to the NCOC for trusting the PCB and allowing limited fans to watch live action of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2021.

This is an endorsement that the PCB is an institution, which is capable of planning and then successfully implementing Covid-19 SOPs during its marquee event being staged in Pakistan for the second successive year.”

Mani said, “I am optimistic that if we can maintain strict protocols during the HBL PSL 2021 matches we will have a strong case for more fans in the 2021-22 season in which we have to host high-profile internationals teams such as New Zealand, England and the West Indies as well as quality domestic events, including the National T-20 Cup, Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and the Pakistan Cup.”

Moreover, all-rounder Abbas Afridi who featured in the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 has been added in the Karachi Kings squad for the HBL Pakistan Super League 2021 that begins at the National Stadium Karachi on February 20.

Kings, the defending champions, had reserved their 18th pick at the Players Draft that was held in Lahore last month. Kings have now chosen Abbas as their 18th player and the 19-year-old would be a part of the Kings squad for the season.

Abbas was the leading wicket-taker for Pakistan U19 in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, he took nine wickets in five matches.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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