Sunset and Vine, the UK-based production house that handles the broadcast of the Pakistan Super League, has withdrawn its services for the league's final which will be played in Lahore on March 5. ESPNcricinfo understands that a Dubai-based company, Innovative Production Group, will handle production of the Lahore match. The PSL is also seeking to replace its overseas commentators: Danny Morrison, Alan Wilkins, Mel Jones are reluctant to travel to Lahore, while Ian Bishop, whose contract was until the play-offs, will leave to cover West Indies' home ODIs against England.
Companies that handle the HawkEye technology and Spider-cam have also pulled out from the final, which will be televised without the supporting components. A drone camera is likely to replace the spider-cam.
Sunset and Vine, which had also handled the broadvast for the PSL in its inaugural edition last year, had informed the PCB through an email last week about its reluctance to travel to Lahore. Innovative Production Group was part of the PCB's contingency plan.
On Monday the provisional government gave a public go-ahead to the staging of the final at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, after week-long deliberations and assessments of the security situation in the country. The PCB has been working to get the ground ready for the match later this week.
The stadium has been renovated extensively, and includes a new media facility at the College End of the ground, with a capacity to accommodate more than 150 journalists, which will be inaugurated before the final. Tickets for the final are also set to be released, with prices ranging between Rs 500 and Rs 12000.
To ensure the final features foreign players, the PSL management has asked the four franchises who have made it to the play-offs to work on a contingency plan. The franchises have been asked to nominate a pool of foreign players from a list of over 60 said to be willing to travel to Pakistan, in the event - as seems likely - some of their own foreign players don't go. Presently, Peshawar Zalmi are most confident their foreign contingent will travel to Lahore, while players from the other three sides are still undecided. Teams can field a maximum of four foreign players in their XI but the rules are flexible enough to allow teams to play with XI local players if necessary.
Najam Sethi, the PSL chairman, is optimistic the final will feature foreign players. "First let the two finalists be confirmed, which will be by March 3," he said on Monday. "I will be going back to Dubai now and once the finalists are confirmed I will again talk to the franchise owners and foreign players. We have also prepared a back-up list of foreign players in case the overseas signings of the finalist teams refuse to come to Lahore. "