The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has proposed a hybrid model for co-hosting the 2023 Asia Cup, which is expected to receive approval from the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), reported Press Trust of India (PTI) on Saturday.
According to the proposed model, the initial four matches of the group stage in the primary phase of the tournament will be played in Pakistan. The subsequent phase, including matches involving India and the finals, will take place at a neutral venue, likely to be Sri Lanka.
Under this arrangement, Pakistan will play their group stage match against Nepal on their home ground. Similarly, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan will also play their pool matches in Pakistan.
The ACC is expected to make a formal announcement on Tuesday, and once the hybrid model is officially accepted, it will pave the way for the Pakistan team’s travel to India for the ODI World Cup scheduled in October-November.
“Oman Cricket board chief Pankaj Khimji, one of the respected ACC executive board members, was entrusted to find a solution as most countries didn’t want a hybrid model. But as of now four non-India games — Pakistan versus Nepal, Bangladesh versus Afghanistan, Afghanistan versus Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka versus Bangladesh — will be held at the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore,” an ACC board member was quoted as saying by PTI.
“The two India versus Pakistan games and all other Super four games will be held in either Pallekele or Galle,” the board member added.
Initially, Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary and ACC chairman, had firmly stated that they would not accept the PCB’s suggested hybrid model. Shah recently discussed the matter with the heads of member nations and proposed that the tournament should take place at a single venue, specifically Sri Lanka. However, there appears to be a U-turn from the BCCI, as they are now reportedly willing to accept the hybrid model, according to the PTI report.
PCB management committee chairman, Najam Sethi, had previously threatened to boycott the Asia Cup and subsequently the ODI World Cup in India later this year if their hybrid model was not accepted. To address PCB’s concerns, Chairman Greg Barclay and CEO Geoff Allardice of the International Cricket Council (ICC) recently visited Lahore and held meetings with PCB officials to obtain a guarantee that the Pakistan team would travel to India for the 2023 World Cup.