- Pakistan and Sri Lanka discussing ODI matches before ICC World Cup.
- Uncertainty over Pakistan’s Asia Cup participation.
- PCB Chairman calls for a rational solution to hosting challenges.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have engaged in discussions regarding the possibility of playing ODI matches as a build-up to the ICC World Cup scheduled to be held in India later this year.
Initially, Pakistan was slated to tour Sri Lanka in July for a two-Test series, forming a part of the ICC World Test Championship. However, both boards are contemplating the idea of replacing the Test matches with ODIs or even exploring the option of playing the 50-over matches alongside the red-ball fixtures.
Moreover, there is uncertainty surrounding Pakistan’s participation in the Asia Cup, which the PCB is expected to host in September this year.
It is important to note that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has declined to send their team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup, expressing a preference for a neutral venue. On the other hand, the PCB is reluctant to relocate the event outside Pakistan, as it would hamper their ongoing efforts to restore international cricket in the country.
The proposed hybrid model, which would allow India to play their matches at a neutral venue, is also unlikely to be accepted by the BCCI.
Najam Sethi, the Chairman of the PCB Management Committee, has emphasized the need for a rational approach to address the impending crisis that jeopardizes the successful hosting of the Asia Cup and Pakistan’s participation in the ODI World Cup this year.
During a media interaction at the National Assembly Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) meeting, Sethi expressed concerns about Pakistan’s prospects of traveling to India for the ODI World Cup, given the possibility of India’s refusal to visit Pakistan for the Asia Cup.
Sethi highlighted the potential consequences of such a situation, stating, “If India refuses to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup, it is likely that the Pakistan government will not permit the Men in Green to cross the borders for their World Cup participation. In that case, cricket will be the ultimate casualty.”
He further urged for a mutually agreeable resolution to these challenges, asserting the need for a middle ground to ensure the smooth hosting of ICC and ACC events. Should India decline to visit Pakistan for the Asia Cup, it would result in Pakistan being unable to travel to India for their World Cup matches, as per Sethi’s remarks.
The cricketing authorities of both nations will need to engage in further discussions and find a constructive path forward to ensure the successful staging of these important tournaments while addressing the concerns and constraints posed by the prevailing circumstances.
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