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Thursday February 29, 2024

Najam Sethi to Jay Shah: ‘No India for Asia Cup, no Pakistan for World Cup’

Sethi’s tough stance took the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president by surprise, sources

February 05, 2023
Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi. — AFP/File
Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee Najam Sethi took a firm stance on Pakistan’s Asia Cup hosting rights during the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Executive Board meeting held in Bahrain Saturday, making it clear on Jay Shah that if India pulls out of the September event, Pakistan will not take part in the World Cup to be hosted by India in October 2023.

A well-placed source within the ACC has confirmed to The News that Sethi’s tough stance took the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president by surprise. “Najam Sethi told Jay Shah that if India won’t play in Pakistan, we won’t play in India. Najam has given a clear message to the Indian counterpart, who also heads the ACC these days.”

“Sethi’s stance took Jay Shah by surprise as he was not expecting this,” a source privy to the ACC meeting told The News from Bahrain.

The PCB chairman said it was Pakistan’s genuine right and no one could deprive Pakistan’s cricket of it. “All major international Test-playing nations, including Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa have enjoyed playing international cricket in Pakistan in recent times. These countries were full of praise for Pakistan’s hosting rights. The same is the case with the Pakistan Super League (PSL) participants. So, there is no point in even considering depriving Pakistan of its hosting rights.

“Pakistan will not only host the Asia Cup in September, but it will also go on to host the Champions Trophy in 2025. We believe and expect India to travel to Pakistan to figure in all the international events Pakistan is to host in accordance with the ICC and ACC decisions, the same way Pakistan has been doing all these years.

“The PCB has never felt any hesitation in sending their teams to India as PCB believes sports are only meant for fans’ entertainment and no country should be allowed to deprive any particular country’s fans of their genuine right,” Najam told the ACC member countries. Following the PCB’s firm stance, it seems that the deadlock will be revisited in March when the ICC and ACC Executive Board meetings take place. “Since the Asia Cup, World Cup, and Champions Trophy are interlinked, other countries are also expected to get involved in an effort to keep the cricketing family on one page.”