The PCB has proposed a “hybrid model” for the upcoming Asia Cup to the Asian Cricket Council, where “Pakistan plays its Asia Cup matches at home and India their matches at a neutral venue,” board chairman Najam Sethi said on Friday.
But, with Pakistan hoping to host as much of the tournament within the country, Sethi hoped that the visit of his country’s foreign minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, next month to Goa for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council meeting will help find a solution.
“We have been told that, maybe, the ice will keep on melting – if this happens when the Champions Trophy is held in Pakistan in 2025, India would consider playing in Pakistan,” Sethi said at a press interaction. “We have been advised to play the Asia Cup at a neutral venue and also go to India for the World Cup.” He didn’t specify who the suggestion had come from.
Sethi indicated that the public mood in his country was that Pakistan should play cricket with India on level terms.
“Our government has imposed no restrictions about playing against India,” Sethi said. “But I can say right now that public mood is: we are not needy and we can stand on our own feet financially and we want to play cricket with India honourably. We are also negotiating with the ACC.”
Sethi: ‘Everything should be on a reciprocal basis’
Sethi said that if Pakistan decided to shift all India matches in the Asia Cup to a neutral venue, India should also use the same hybrid experiment during the 50-over World Cup, to be held in India in October-November this year.
“We feel this hybrid experiment can also be applied when it is time for the World Cup,” Sethi said. “Our stance is that everything should be on a reciprocal basis. In the old times, yes, there were security issues in Pakistan. But now there are no issues, so what is India’s excuse for not playing in Pakistan?”
The ACC, led by BCCI secretary Jay Shah, is yet to respond to the PCB about the proposed hybrid model. Reports say that the other ACC members also want the Asia Cup to be held at a neutral venue to cut costs even though Pakistan will remain the tournament host.
The Asia Cup will feature six teams, including Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and one team that will be identified after the qualifiers, which is currently underway in Nepal.