25 February 2021
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Self-proclaimed ‘universe boss’ Chris Gayle is has returned to the West Indies for the series against Sri Lanka, but has vowed to return in time for the Lahore leg of the Pakistan Super League.

He is excited to be returning to Pakistan after a 15-year hiatus and grateful for every opportunity to play cricket during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am glad to be playing cricket at this particular time,” said
Gayle.

The West Indies batsman headlines a slimmer roster of international cricketers joining the Twenty20 league in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gayle will be suiting up with the Quetta Gladiators against
title holders Karachi for his first T20 appearance on Pakistani soil.

“The universe boss is here in Pakistan alright,” he said in a video message released by the team.

“All my Pakistan fans, I am looking forward to entertaining you… so stay tuned.”

Gayle plays three matches before returning home for a series
against Sri Lanka, returning for the last leg of the tournament taking place in
Karachi and Lahore through to March 22.

Despite being the highest scorer in Twenty20 cricket with
13,584 runs, Gayle stumbled in his first two PSL competitions.

He managed just 103 runs in five matches for the Lahore
Qalandars and 160 in nine for the Karachi Kings the next year.

This year’s tournament features several foreign players
including the PSL debut of top-ranked Afghan spinner Rashid Khan.

England will be represented by James Vince, Tom Banton and
Adam Lyth among others.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will only allow stadiums to be filled to 20 percent capacity during the competition as part of coronavirus precautions.

But it is holding out hope that health officials will
consider allowing more fans to attend the play-offs.

Last year four league games were held in Karachi and Lahore without spectators before the play-offs were cancelled after English batsman Alex Hales revealed symptoms of the virus.

The remainder of the season was rescheduled, with three
play-offs and a final held without fans.

This year’s season marks the second time all games will be
entirely hosted within the cricket-mad country.

Previous editions were held wholly or partially in the
United Arab Emirates over security fears.

A deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus halted international cricket tours to Pakistan, but visits are gradually resuming following security improvements.

Abdul Gh Lone

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