The future of the 2023 Asia Cup remains uncertain as a recent meeting of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in Bahrain was unable to come to a decision. The meeting, which was expected to reach a conclusion on whether Pakistan will host the tournament, ended in a deadlock. A final decision is now expected to be made in March during the next set of ICC meetings.
The controversy around the 2023 Asia Cup began in October when the ACC president, Jay Shah, stated that the tournament would be held at a neutral venue as India was unable to travel to Pakistan. This statement was met with disappointment by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which took issue with the decision. The PCB’s chief, Najam Sethi, has since stated that if India does not play in Pakistan, then Pakistan will consider not playing in India for the 2023 World Cup.
The March meetings are expected to revisit the deadlock, with the PCB likely to maintain its stance. Should the situation remain unresolved, the Pakistan government may be forced to make a decision. Additionally, all ACC members have been asked to seek their government’s positions on whether their teams could travel to Pakistan. However, the PCB has clarified that no such matters were raised during the meeting and that Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have already confirmed their tours to Pakistan.
Over the last three years, Pakistan has seen a return to hosting international cricket with nearly all full members, excluding India, visiting the country for cricket. However, relations between India and Pakistan have been strained for years as a result of political tensions between the two countries. India and Pakistan have not played each other in a bilateral series since 2012-13 and their encounters have been limited to ICC and ACC events.
The ACC executive board also approved the inclusion of teams from Japan and Indonesia in the ACC pathway tournaments and ratified ACC’s calendar of activities for the financial years 2023 and 2024. The PCB is determined to host the 2023 Asia Cup, with Sethi stating in January that the stance will be according to the interests of Pakistan.
Despite years of isolation following the 2009 attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore, Pakistan has made great strides in recent years in regaining its place as a host of international cricket. The PCB’s stance on hosting the 2023 Asia Cup demonstrates its intent to continue this trend and promote the country’s interests in the world of cricket.
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