The Asia Cup cricket tournament, slated to be held in Pakistan this September, is facing hurdles due to India’s refusal to participate in Pakistan, given the existing political differences between the two nations.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had proposed a hybrid model in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting, suggesting that while all other teams compete in Pakistan, matches involving India could be hosted in a different country. The ACC President, Jay Shah, initially demonstrated interest in this proposal but later opposed it upon his return to India.
Jay Shah stated a few weeks back that the council is in the process of gathering responses from other participant countries to finalize the Asia Cup venue, as well as to clarify the status of the India-Pakistan match.
Sources indicate that the PCB is standing its ground on the hybrid model and is even prepared for the possibility of the Asia Cup not happening this year. PCB has reportedly turned down the suggestion to host the entire event in another country. Cricket boards of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have informally tried to persuade PCB to consider a neutral venue for the Asia Cup, but to no avail.
Sri Lanka has expressed interest in hosting the event, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also open to hosting the Asia Cup again. However, PCB asserts that resolving this issue now is crucial to prevent future complications, including the potential hosting of the Champions Trophy in 2025.
Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is seemingly ready for the potential cancellation of the Asia Cup, with plans for a five-nation tournament in the same window.
Najam Sethi, Chairman of the PCB Management Committee, has cancelled an upcoming trip to the UAE due to personal reasons, and sources hint that a significant decision regarding the Asia Cup may be announced soon.
The PCB is also mindful of potential public backlash should the event be entirely shifted to the UAE, having already dismissed the suggestion of moving the event to another country. If the Asia Cup doesn’t occur this year, it might also affect Pakistan’s preparations for the 2023 World Cup in India.