The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Sunday shifted three matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Lahore leg to Karachi, citing logistical and operational challenges. All eight Pakistan-leg matches of the PSL will now be played at the National Stadium in Karachi. A PCB spokesman said that the matches, which were scheduled to be held in Lahore, were moved to Karachi due to logistical and operational challenges posed by the “delayed opening of Lahore airspace for commercial flights.” The spokesman added that some of the key challenges the PCB faced due to the airspace issue included “securing production equipment and the commitment of broadcast crew, as well as finalising the logistics for the officials and teams.” Lahore matches were scheduled for March 9, 10 and 12.PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said it was a difficult and tough decision which had been taken following discussion and consultation with all the franchisees and service providers to ensure certainty and clarity on the event as well as delivery of the remaining matches as per the PCB’s own very high standards. “Due to the recent and prevailing uncertainty, we felt it critical to make a decisive decision at this juncture. Ensuring all matches are played in Pakistan falls in line with our vision to take all eight matches of the PSL 2019 matches to the people of Pakistan. We had considered the option of shifting the dates of the eight matches in Pakistan, but because the Pakistan cricket team has to leave for the UAE on 19 March for the ODI series against Australia, this was not possible. We also looked at swapping matches between Lahore and Karachi, but paucity of time would have rendered this option unworkable,” Mani added.He further said it was unfortunate that the headquarters of Pakistan cricket would not be able to host the PSL matches in 2019 due to no fault of the PCB. “But this is a small sacrifice for a bigger and larger national cause.” Over the last few days, India and Pakistan have exchanged hostilities, which even led to the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) writing to the International Cricket Council (ICC) requesting that Pakistan be kept out of the World Cup in England later this year, a request the ICC turned down last week.The military tensions at the border had cast doubts over the PSL’s Pakistan leg altogether. The UAE leg of the tournament is set to finish on March 5, after which the action will shift to Pakistan on March 9 — not March 7 as originally planned – with Lahore and Karachi originally slated to host three and five games respectively. Now, the entire Pakistan leg will take place at National Stadium in Karachi.Keeping in mind the uncertainty, Mani had earlier this week called a press conference in Dubai with bosses of most of the PSL franchises to reaffirm the board’s commitment to hosting the last few matches of the PSL in Pakistan. The PCB has confirmed that everyone who has purchased tickets for the Lahore games will be refunded.Revised event schedule:1: Saturday, 9 March – Lahore Qalandars v Islamabad United (match starts 7:00 pm PST)2: Sunday, 10 March – Karachi Kings v Quetta Gladiators (match starts 7:00 pm PST) 3: Monday, 11 March – Lahore Qalandars v Multan Sultans (match starts 2:00 pm PST)4Karachi Kings v Peshawar Zalmi (match starts 7:00 pm PST)5: Wednesday, 13 March – Qualifier (1 v 2) (match starts 7:00 pm PST)6: Thursday, 14 March – Eliminator 1 (3 v 4) (match starts 7:00 pm PST)7: Friday, 15 March – Eliminator 2 (match starts 7:00 pm PST)8: Sunday, 17 March – Final (match starts 7:00 pm PST).Published in Daily Times, March 4th 2019.