The remainder of season 6 of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is set to begin from June 5th, with the final scheduled for June 20th. Due to an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Pakistan, the remaining matches of PSL 6 will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The weather in the UAE is incredibly hot in June. Because of the extreme heat in the summer, the UAE has never held a professional tournament during this time of year, with nearly all major tournaments taking place in the winter and early spring. However, due to the lack of a convenient timeframe for conducting the competition, PCB had no alternative but to do so.
Since the temperature is projected to be around 40 degrees Celsius in the daytime, the majority of the matches will be held at nighttime, when the climate is cooler. Although the temperatures will be cooler at night, the humidity will be higher, ranging between 50 to 65 percent. Six doubleheaders are planned, implying day games will begin at 5 p.m. at the earliest, when the temperature would still be hovering about 35 degrees Celsius.
The PSL management and the franchise are planning several ways to cope up and fight the extreme conditions of the UAE. Teams are planning to provide ice vests to their players to wear on the ground. There have been discussions regarding the use of lighter material for team kits.
Mohammad Akram and Aqib Javed on the challenges
Head coach of Peshawar Zalmi, Mohammad Akram termed this challenge as “Difficult but not impossible” according to ESPNcricinfo. He stated that they may adopt a strategy to supply coconut water to the players, especially to the fast bowlers on the boundary ropes to keep the body hydrated.
“This will be difficult but not impossible. We all are working on making plans for how to cope with such conditions, especially for fast bowlers. We have a strategy to use coconut water as much as we can to maintain body temperature. We need to keep the boys hydrated and avoid the risk of cramping. Since most of the games will be played at night, we are not worried about heat strokes.”
“It’s more about how we combat the humidity. Hence, the use of coconut water helps us against the risk of losing electrolytes from the body. I am not sure if more than two or three extra breaks are feasible in between the innings but we plan to supply coconut water at the boundary especially for the bowlers,” said Mohammad Akram.
Aqib Javed too talked about the conditions of UAE and its effects on the human body. He stated that June might not be the ideal time to conduct the tournament but still, they can manage it.
“In June, the nights aren’t as hot as the days – the temperature drops, and the sea breeze allows you to settle. The boys in Pakistan are used to coping with some challenging conditions. The only worry is the first innings in the first games that will start around 5 PM, but once the sun goes down they will cope,” said Aqib Javed.
Adding to that, Javed emphasized the fitness of the players and how it would play a role to combat the challenging conditions. He also suggested the franchises accommodate earlier and adjust to the conditions.
“Fitness is important as usual and players have attained the highest level of fitness these days. But still, the idea of having short breaks every seven overs can be handy. But we don’t know what to expect right now. But everyone is a professional and everyone will come prepared about every aspect of the game. Normally I would suggest teams should have come two weeks earlier to acclimate with the conditions but with the tight schedule that’s tricky,” added Aqib Javed.