PSL 2022 blueprint: separate bio-bubbles, regular tests, dedicated hospital passages
Contingency plans include resetting bubbles from scratch if there is a Covid-19 outbreak; no window later in year if tournament stalled
This season the PCB has replicated the biosecure bubble that was created by Restrata, an independent company that managed the environment during the rescheduled Abu Dhabi leg last season. The PCB will regulate the bubble itself, forming three distinct bubbles with different protocols.
There will be as many as 17 tests starting on January 20 - the day teams are checking into the hotel. There is a mandatory three-day quarantine, followed by four days of training, before the tournament starts from January 27 in Karachi. The first three days of quarantine will have regular testing before everyone with two negative PCR results is allowed to enter the bubble. Every individual will then have a PCR test every second day.
The PCB has designated Agha Khan Hospital in Karachi and Hameed Latif Hospital in Lahore to handle all potential medical requirements of individuals involved in the PSL.
The individual(s) will be immediately separated from the rest of the squad and undergo a PCR test.
With every team there will be a bio-bubble integrity manager policing the bubble. The offender may face a sanction ranging from reprimand to expulsion from the league. Penalties can be levied for minor or major breaches, from game bans to match-fee fines. The PCB can require any participant to quarantine in their hotel room in case of a breach, and undergo repeated testing.
The PCB had originally announced full crowds for both the Karachi and Lahore legs. However, Pakistan's National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) determines regulations surrounding Covid-19 restrictions, and with cases rising steeply in Pakistan over the past few weeks - particularly in Karachi - the NCOC announced that the Karachi leg would see a maximum of 25% crowd attendance. Lahore, for now, is still set to see full crowds. Spectators' entry is subject to Covid-19 protocols - no one will be allowed to enter the venue without a valid vaccination certificate.
Each of the last two seasons, the PSL was played over two legs due to Covid outbreaks, but this season, the PCB has made contingency plans to try and ensure the PSL isn't postponed or cancelled. The PSL management will instead reset the bubble and start over after seven days, recreating the bio-bubble from scratch. In case of outbreaks among franchises, matches can go ahead as long as there are 13 players available on each side. There will also be a reserve pool for franchises to pick players from. A PCB official confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that if the league were to be postponed for some reason, it would have to be cancelled altogether, since there will be no window to play the remaining games.
It would appear unlikely at present. ESPNcricinfo understands that all bookings and hotel confirmations have been finalised in both Karachi and Lahore, and there are at present no plans to change that.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent