AB de Villiers has been ruled out of the remainder of the Pakistan Super League season due to a back injury, which will leave him out of action for two weeks.
That means that he will play no games in Pakistan, with all games in the tournament having taken place in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah up until now; the first game in Pakistan will take place in Karachi on March 9, as will all subsequent games in the tournament.
“I am very disappointed that I will not be able to play in front of the passionate Pakistani cricket fans,” said de Villiers. “I saw my doctor who has advised complete rest for two weeks and, unfortunately, that rules me out of the games in Karachi.
“I hope to be a part of the PSL next year and very much hope to play my part in the return of international cricket to the country. I am backing Lahore Qalandars to go all the way and win the trophy this year.”
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) February 22, 2019
Lahore Qalandars, who sit third in the table, are yet to confirm a replacement for de Villiers.
Yesterday, the PCB confirmed that all games to be played in Pakistan this year will be hosted in the National Stadium in Karachi, rather than split between Karachi and Lahore as had originally been planned.
The reason cited was that the closing of the Lahore commercial airspace, a consequence of the ongoing political tensions involving India and Pakistan. This presented, according to a Pakistan Cricket Board release, “substantial operational and logistical challenges”.
“It is unfortunate that the headquarters of Pakistan cricket will be unable to host the PSL matches in 2019 due to no fault of the PCB,” said Eshan Mani, PCB chairman. “But this is a small sacrifice for a bigger and larger national cause.”