LAHORE: Amidst India's refusal to travel to Pakistan for the upcoming Asia Cup, Pakistani Test cricketer Wahab Riaz — who is also adviser to Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi on sports and youth affairs — has backed the hybrid model for this year's tournament.
Earlier, the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) had refused to send their team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup citing "security concerns", demanding instead that the tournament be held at a "neutral venue".
However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is not interested in hosting the event outside Pakistan since doing so would affect both its income and its efforts to bring back international cricket to the country.
In order to resolve the deadlock, the PCB presented the hybrid model with two options. In the first option, India will play their matches at a neutral venue whereas all other matches will be played in Pakistan.
In another option, four matches of the group stage in the first phase will take place in Pakistan whereas the second phase, in which matches of the Indian team followed by the next stage matches including the final, will be played at a neutral venue.
“Asia Cup should not have been turned into such a big issue. It’s a good thing if the hybrid model is used for the event,” Riaz said during a press conference on Wednesday.
“Matches should take place in Pakistan since all the top cricket nations have toured the country in the recent past,” he added.
Earlier, the chairman of the PCB Management Committee, Najam Sethi, called for a rational approach to solve the looming crisis that threatens the successful hosting of the Asia Cup and the country's participation in the ODI World Cup this year.
Talking to the media on the occasion of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) meeting, Sethi said the Pakistan team’s chances of travelling to India for the ODI World Cup are low.
“In case of India’s refusal to travel to Pakistan to compete in the Asia Cup, chances are there that the Pakistan government would not allow the Men in Green to cross the borders for their World Cup participation. In that case, cricket will be the ultimate sufferer,” Sethi said.
“There should be a middle way to solve problems that surely threaten the smooth hosting of ICC and ACC events. In case of India’s refusal to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup, the government will not allow us to travel to India to figure in the World Cup matches,” he added.
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