The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has expressed its desire to have the upcoming Asia Cup cricket tournament shifted from Pakistan.
Citing political unrest in Pakistan, a BCCI official told an Indian media outlet that the current situation in Pakistan raised concerns and warranted a relocation of the tournament.
While acknowledging that he had not yet seen the new hybrid model for the tournament, the official emphasized that the BCCI’s position remained unchanged.
“I haven’t seen the new hybrid model so far,” the BCCI official was quoted saying.
“There is no change in our stance. We want Asia Cup to be shifted from Pakistan due to political unrest there,” he added.
The BCCI official also mentioned that they were closely observing the situation in Pakistan and would reach a decision after consulting with all relevant parties involved.
Additionally, the official raised concerns about the weather conditions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the likely alternative host for the tournament. He stated that the hot weather in the UAE might not be suitable for the players
“Hot weather of the UAE will not be suitable for players. We can’t compromise on players’ safety,” he concluded.
Previously, the chairman of PCB, Najam Sethi, gave a straight-up warning of pulling out from Asia Cup 2023 in case the BCCI doesn’t end up affirming the hybrid model. For this very reason, a meeting has been called by ACC, incorporating all members of the council to discuss the hybrid model.
PCB proposed two options in the hybrid model. The first option says that India shall play their respective matches at a neutral venue while all other matches will be played in Pakistan, as originally planned. The second option says that the initial four matches of the group stage in the primary phase of the tournament shall be played in Pakistan. Moreover, the next phase, including matches of India and finals, is to be played at a neutral venue.
According to media reports, the PCB has designated Dubai as a favored neutral location within a hybrid framework.
There is a larger probability and a higher success ratio for the second option to be locked. In that scenario, Pakistan will play their group stage match against Nepal on home ground. Likewise, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan will also be playing their pool matches in Pakistan.
It must be that earlier, BCCI refuted the idea of sending their team to Pakistan for this year’s Asia Cup and kept on reinstating that the entire tournament should be held at a neutral venue.
On the contrary, PCB is adamant about hosting the event in their territory, at least some part of it; otherwise, it would waive off all the efforts made in order to summon international cricket back to the country.