Najam Sethi, the chairman of the management committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has shared an update on the status of the Asia Cup 2023 during a media briefing in Lahore. The future of the tournament, which was originally scheduled for September 2022, is in jeopardy after India declined to travel to Pakistan due to political reasons. The PCB was set to host the Asia Cup 2023 for the first time since 2008, but India’s position on the matter has put the future of the tournament in doubt.
Since assuming his role as the head of the PCB in December 2021, Sethi has been grappling with the issue of the Asia Cup. During a press conference held alongside the national team’s chief selector Haroon Rasheed to announce the T20I squad against Afghanistan, Sethi was once again asked about the future of the Asia Cup in Pakistan. “The situation remains the same. India will not come to Pakistan for the Asia Cup. This is a very difficult and complex situation that has not been resolved,” Sethi revealed.
“There are two different matters, one is of the ICC and the other is of the ACC. This is not just about the Asia Cup because we also have to host the Champions Trophy. I will go and talk to both the ICC and ACC regarding this matter,” he added.
It is worth noting that Sethi, along with COO Salman Naseer and Faisal Hasnain, will discuss this issue in the upcoming ICC meeting scheduled for March 20 in Dubai. Ahead of this crucial meeting, Sethi sought advice from the federal government. “I have approached our government to take their point of view on this matter. If our patron, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, asks us to go and play in the World Cup in India regardless of whether they come here to play the Asia Cup or not, we will have to consider it,” he said.
“So far, our government’s position is also the same. If India does not come here, we will also not go there for the World Cup. I believe that we have more security concerns in India due to the ongoing communal issues there,” he emphasized. “Therefore, we need to keep our government and security agencies informed while making any decisions regarding the Asia Cup in Pakistan and the World Cup in India,” Sethi concluded.
Former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja made bold statements after the Indian cricket board secretary Jay Shah, who is also the president of the ACC, said that India “cannot” send a team to Pakistan, and added that the Asia Cup would be moved to a neutral venue. This announcement last year caught Pakistan by surprise, with the then PCB chairman warning that it could “divide” the international cricket community.
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