The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reportedly accepted the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) hybrid hosting model for the highly anticipated Asia Cup 2023, according to sources.
BCCI Secretary Jay Shah has given his consent to the PCB’s proposal, which suggests hosting four matches of the tournament in Pakistan and the remaining matches at a neutral venue. However, the specific neutral venue is yet to be finalised.
Earlier announcements by PCB sources had indicated that the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore would be hosting the first phase of the tournament, featuring four matches. The rest of the matches were planned to be held at the Dubai International Stadium. The PCB is confident that hosting matches in Dubai will lead to higher ticket sales compared to venues in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
It is crucial to note that the BCCI had previously declined to send the Indian cricket team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup. Instead, they insisted on a neutral venue for the event. The primary concern of the BCCI is ensuring the safety and security of its players, which they believe can be better achieved in neutral territory.
The situation has raised concerns and prompted Najam Sethi, chairman of the PCB Management Committee, to call for a rational approach to resolving the impending crisis. Sethi emphasised the need to find a middle ground to ensure the successful hosting of both the Asia Cup and Pakistan’s participation in the ODI World Cup later this year.
During a media interaction at the National Assembly Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) meeting, Sethi expressed doubt about Pakistan’s chances of travelling to India for the ODI World Cup if India refused to visit Pakistan for the Asia Cup. He highlighted that in such a scenario, the Pakistani government might restrict their team from crossing borders, which would have severe implications for the game of cricket.
The BCCI’s acceptance of Pakistan’s hybrid hosting model for the Asia Cup 2023 marks a significant step forward. However, the decision regarding the neutral venue is still pending. This development underscores the importance of diplomatic negotiations and finding common ground to ensure the successful staging of these prestigious cricket events.