Pakistan News

PCB proposes ‘hybrid model’ to resolve Indo-Pak travel concerns

KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board advised top officials of the International Cricket Council officials to consider a “hybrid model” for Pakistan and India in the forthcoming events given the political relations between the two neighbouring countries.

Two of the next three top 50-over competitions — the Asia Cup and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup later this year and the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy — are set to be held in either Pakistan or India.

With both sides unlikely to travel to either country for the tournaments, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s interim Management Committee chairman Najam Sethi suggested ICC officials — including chairman Greg Barclay and chief executive Geoff Allardice — look into the possibility of India and Pakistan playing at neutral venues during the events in question.

Dawn understands the suggestion by Sethi was made on the sidelines of the ICC Board meetings last week and that it received an “encouraging response” from the global cricket body’s high-ups, according to informed sources.

The settlement, named the “hybrid model” by the parties involved, is likely to come to fruition for the Asia Cup, which Pakistan is scheduled to host in September.

With meetings between the Asian Cricket Council, the PCB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India already held over the matter, an official decision, however, is yet to be taken by the ACC.

The belief in the PCB offices is that the ICC has found itself in hot waters over the issue with the box office encounter between Pakistan and India in both the World Cup and the Champions Trophy under threat if either side withdraws from any of, or both the events.

While Pakistan have threatened to pull out of the World Cup in case they are ripped off the hosting rights for the Asia Cup if India refuse to travel, the latter side — due to the Indian government’s pressure — has shown a clear stance of not travelling across the border over the years.

Officials in the PCB believe the ICC is desperate to find solutions to the matter knowing Pakistan’s value as a cricketing nation and that the body fears its flagship tournaments will go into a quagmire if matters are not resolved.

Additionally, according to sources, the ICC would want to find solutions given that they awarded Pakistan with the Champions Trophy’s hosting rights despite knowing India will most probably not travel to the country.

Contrary to the PCB’s point of view, Dawn understands that the ICC doesn’t anticipate the Pakistan-India matter to be an issue for the World Cup.

The ICC, according to Dawn’s understanding, is full steam ahead in planning for the World Cup in India and that it is not currently working on moving any matches of the tournament.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2023

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