A total of 11 matches will be played in Rawalpindi, while Karachi (nine), Lahore (nine) and Multan (five) will host the remaining games. The final, on March 19, as well as the playoffs prior to it, will all be played in Lahore.
Three women’s “festival games” have also been slotted midway into the PSL – in Rawalpindi on March 8, 10 and 11 – involving local and overseas players in what will be a case of the PCB testing the waters ahead of a full-fledged women’s T20 league in the future. These will all be day games and be part of double-headers, with men’s PSL games to follow in the evening. The PCB earlier had plans to have the inaugural women’s league run concurrently to the men’s PSL, but that was shelved. As things stand, the aim is to launch a standalone project in later this year. The new league – which will bear a different name – shall have four teams.
“The PSL will be a massive event for the PCB, taking place at the four iconic venues with the world’s best T20 cricketers in action,” Sethi said. “We aim to make the league bigger, better and stronger than ever before with the overarching ambition to make it the first-choice event for leading T20 cricketers. Each of the six sides will enter the PSL 8 with lots at stake.”
The PSL schedule was put in place in December, before Sethi replaced Ramiz Raja at the helm of the PCB, and the new PCB management hasn’t made any major change to it. There was a suggestion that the opening ceremony be moved out of Multan and be held in Karachi, but that hasn’t happened. The only tweak is that Qalandars, who had back-to-back games on February 19 and 20, will now play the games on February 19 and 21, with the original February 21 game between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi now taking place on February 20.
The schedule has been designed to allow four sides (Qalandars, Sultans, Karachi Kings and Islamabad United) to play five matches each in front of their supporters, one against each of the other teams. Quetta and Peshawar won’t have any home games since their home venues are not ready to host high profile games, but the plan is to get them ready by PSL 2024.