BCCI agrees to Pakistan’s hybrid hosting model for Asia Cup 2023: sources

A collage of captains from all six nations ready to participate in the Asia Cup 2023. — Asia Cup website

According to sources, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reportedly accepted Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) hybrid hosting model for the much-anticipated Asia Cup 2023.

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah has given his consent to the PCB’s proposal, which proposes to hold four matches of the tournament in Pakistan and the remaining matches at neutral venues. However, the specific neutral location is yet to be finalised.

Earlier announcements by PCB sources had indicated that Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium would host the first leg of the tournament, which would have four matches. The remaining matches were planned to be played at the Dubai International Stadium. PCB is confident that hosting the matches in Dubai will lead to higher ticket sales than the venues in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

It is significant that the BCCI had earlier refused to send the Indian cricket team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup. Instead, they insisted on a neutral location for the event. BCCI’s primary concern is to ensure the safety and security of its players, which it believes can be best achieved in neutral territory.

The situation has raised concerns and urged PCB Management Committee Chairman Najam Sethi to adopt a rational approach to resolve the looming crisis. Sethi stressed the need to find a middle ground to ensure successful hosting of the Asia Cup and Pakistan’s participation in the ODI World Cup later this year.

While interacting with the media at the meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Co-ordination (IPC), Najam Sethi expressed doubts about the possibility of Pakistan going to India for the ODI World Cup if India hosts the Asia Cup. So he refused to visit Pakistan. He highlighted that in such a situation, the Pakistani government could stop his team from crossing the border, which would have serious implications for the game of cricket.

BCCI’s acceptance of Pakistan’s hybrid hosting model for Asia Cup 2023 is an important step. However, the decision regarding the neutral venue is still pending. This development underscores the importance of diplomatic engagement and finding common ground to ensure the successful conduct of these prestigious cricket events.

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