Lahore will no longer host the three T20I matches between Zimbabwe and Pakistan, or the four playoff games in the PSL, because of seasonal smog. The Zimbabwe matches will be moved to Rawalpindi, which means all six white-ball games in that series will take place in the same city. Karachi, meanwhile, which was not scheduled to host any international matches this month, now finds itself playing host to the remaining four PSL matches, including the final on November 17. The precise dates of the matches remain unchanged.
"We have been keeping a close eye on air quality forecasts over the last two weeks," PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said. "Following the sudden deterioration in air quality and now further expected air pollution in November, we have made a swift decision to move the matches scheduled in Lahore.
"The early onset of hazardous pollution and subsequent poor air quality meant that the risk to keep matches in Lahore at this stage was too great. An early decision was made to ensure logistical challenges could be dealt with sooner rather than later. We cannot and will not compromise on the health and well-being of the players or officials."
This marks the second time the venue for part of the Zimbabwe series has been changed. Just a fortnight ago, logistical challenges forced the PCB to replace Multan, originally clocked in to host three games, with Lahore, with disagreement between the PCB and the city government in Multan over financial outlay. This prompted the board to decide to take the series elsewhere.
Lahore has, over the past few years, faced increasingly high levels of seasonal smog in November and December, with the early onset of smog rendering the city unfit to host cricket, as scheduled, in the second week of November.
The PCB usually avoids hosting matches there in November-December and prefers the southern part of the country to avoid any inconvenience. Multan, situated in southern Punjab, was part of the original plan for that reason. Smog is less of an issue for Karachi, the southern-most city in the country, thanks to the sea breeze it experiences owing to its location along the Arabian Sea.