The tensions between India and Pakistan over the Pulwama terror attack which killed 40 CRPF jawans continues to simmer and this has affected the Pakistan Super League, the nation’s Twenty20 tournament. In a statement by the Pakistan Cricket Board, it said, “Eight Pakistan-leg matches of Pak Super League will be played at National Stadium in Karachi due to a situation beyond PCB’s control. It also resulted in a tweak to Pakistan-leg matches, which will now commence from 9 March with all 8 matches to be played in as many days. Decision has been made following delayed opening of Lahore airspace for commercial flights, which has created substantial operational & logistical challenges relating to the delivery of the three Lahore matches, which were originally scheduled for 9, 10 & 12 March.”
On February 27, a day after Indian Air Force's strike on JeM terrorists inside its territory, Pakistan had closed its airspace for commercial flights and indefinitely suspended flight operations at many of its major airports. The closure of Pakistan’s airspace in response to escalating tensions with India disrupted major routes between Europe and South East Asia and left thousands of air travellers worldwide stranded. Various airlines such as Air India, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines Wednesday announced they were rerouting their flights as Pakistan closed its airspace. Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said, "Flight operations only to/from Karachi international, Peshawar international, Quetta international and Islamabad international airports with restricted entry/exit as follows will be available."
According to reports in the Pakistan media, flight operations in Lahore were suspended but have resumed partially on Sunday. It is expected that operations will resume completely on March 8 in Lahore. On the other hand, Karachi’s flight operations had resumed on March 1 itself with all flights operating normally.
Logistical arrangements for the production team was also a reason for the swap. According to an ESPNCricinfo, Trans-Blitz Group, which took over after IMG-Reliance pulled out, comprises of Indian nationals working as freelancers. There is still uncertainty over who among them will travel to Pakistan
The Pakistan leg will begin on March 9 with the Lahore Qalandars taking on Islamabad United. The knock-out stages will begin on March 13 with the final being played on March 17. The UAE leg of the Pakistan Super League will get over on March 5.
The Pulwama terror attack fall-out saw massive backlash from India against Pakistan and cricket has been a major target. Cricket Associations in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab have pulled down the portraits of Pakistan players from their galleries while D-Sports and IMG-Reliance have pulled out of covering the Pakistan Super League. A leading cricket digital website, Cricbuzz, is also not covering the Pakistan Super League on their website.