PESHAWAR         -       While expansion project of Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium is in full swing at a cost of Rs1.37 billion, the corona­virus pandemic seems to have foiled the authorities’ plan to host some matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) beginning in February 2021.

However, authorities say they are trying to host PSL or at least to hold some of PSL matches at the stadium. The venue is an international crick­et stadium constructed in 1984, the era when it was called Shahi Bagh Stadium as it touches the historical garden.

Speaking to The Nation, KP Direc­tor-General for Sports Asfandyar Khattak said that after completion of the project, the stadium would have a capacity of around 26,000 spec­tators while it would be NCA level cricket academy, with proper flood­lights as well.

It may be mentioned here that lack of floodlights was also one of the rea­sons that the venue was not consid­ered fit for international matches.

The KP sports director general said it might be completed by June 2021 because work got delayed due to issues including coronavirus pan­demic. He said work on the project was stopped in February but now it had been resumed.

He said despite resumption of work there were transportation problems as mostly labour was from Lahore while the movement of iron and some construction material also hit snags.

“Imports are getting delayed as factories in Spain and other coun­tries are closed due to coronavirus pandemic. In fact, we have planned to host PSL at Arbab Niaz Stadium, but the corona situation delayed things,” the official added.

Elaborating further, he said import items worth Rs.600 million were be­ing used in the construction work. “After completion of works, it would be of the level of Dubai Stadium and it would be a gift for the people of Pe­shawar,” he said.