India-Pakistan deadlock persists over Asia Cup, World Cup participation

Source: AFP

KARACHI: The hybrid model to host the matches of Pakistan and India during the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup and Asia Cup at a neutral venue is likely not to go ahead after the Board of Cricket Control in India’s (BCCI) flat refusal.

Earlier, a report emerged that the two cricket boards were gradually moving towards a compromise and had nearly agreed to host India’s matches on a neutral venue while the rest of the Asia Cup will be played in Pakistan.

As per the latest development, however, the BCCI has refused the hybrid proposal for both events and once again demanded to shift the Asia Cup entirely from Pakistan.

Following BCCI’s initial refusal to tour Pakistan, the PCB also hinted at not touring India to participate in this year’s World Cup.

Although PCB has not said anything officially on the prospect of using the hybrid model – India playing Asia Cup matches on a neutral venue – for the ODI World Cup but has hinted it will be discussed at the ICC forum.

“This is not to say that the hybrid model will not be advocated at the proper ICC forum at the right time,” the last line of a PCB release said, while denying the hybrid model was discussed in last week’s ICC meeting.

Pakistan will due to suffer an extra expense of half a million dollars to broadcast India’s neutral venue matches in the Asia Cup. But the consequences of Pakistan not playing in India will be greater, both in terms of sponsorship and broadcast expenses. In that India has to add a Co-host for the event.

“Situation is very fluid,” said a top source dealing with the situation. “A final decision will only be made in June and by that time the ICC will adopt a wait and see policy.”

It may be noted here that the uncertainty around the 2023 Asia Cup began in October last year when the ACC president, and BCCI secretary, Jay Shah refused to send the Indian team to Pakistan and has since been trying to shift the tournament to a neutral venue.