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Thursday June 20, 2024

Asia Cup 2023: BCCI accepts Pakistan's hybrid hosting

Four matches to be played in Pakistan while the rest on a neutral venue

By Abdul Majid Bhatti
May 25, 2023
Indian captain Rohit Sharma (left) and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam walk out for the toss during the Asia Cup in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on September 4, 2022. — ACC
Indian captain Rohit Sharma (left) and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam walk out for the toss during the Asia Cup in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on September 4, 2022. — ACC

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reportedly agreed to the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) hybrid hosting plan for the highly anticipated Asia Cup 2023, the sources said.

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah has given his approval to the PCB's proposal, which suggests that four matches of the tournament will be hosted in Pakistan, while the remaining matches will be held at a neutral venue. However, the specific neutral venue has not yet been determined.

Previously, the PCB had announced that the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore would host the initial phase of the tournament, consisting of four matches, while the rest of the matches were planned for the Dubai International Stadium. The PCB believes that hosting matches in Dubai will result in higher ticket sales compared to venues in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

It's important to note that the BCCI had initially declined to send the Indian cricket team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup and instead insisted on a neutral venue. The safety and security of its players are the primary concerns for the BCCI, which they believe can be better ensured in neutral territory.

This situation has raised concerns and led Najam Sethi, chairman of the PCB Management Committee, to call for a reasonable approach to resolve the impending crisis. Sethi emphasised the need to find a compromise that ensures 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 doubts about Pakistan's chances of travelling to India for the ODI World Cup if India refuses to visit Pakistan for the Asia Cup. He highlighted that in such a scenario, the Pakistani government may restrict their team from crossing borders, which would have serious implications for the game of cricket.

The BCCI's acceptance of Pakistan's hybrid hosting model for the Asia Cup 2023 is a significant step forward. However, the decision on the neutral venue is still pending. This development emphasises the importance of diplomatic negotiations and finding common ground to ensure the successful staging of these prestigious cricket events.