News have been speculating that Pakistan will play the 2023 Cricket World Cup, which is to be held in India, in a neutral venue due to political tension between the two countries. The report became so viral that cricket’s biggest scoring website ESPNcricinfo even reported it in an article. However, another cricket website “Cricbuzz” along with a few well-known Indian journalists stated that this is false. We will deep-dive into what is the truth about Pakistan World Cup neutral venue.
On March 29th, 2023, ESPNcricinfo reported that Pakistan could play their World Cup 2023 matches in Bangladesh and the news broke like wildfire. Nothing came from either official; the PCB, the ICC and the Indian Cricket Board. The news stated that in the recently concluded ICC meeting in Dubai last week, both parties decided that their respective teams will play on a neutral venue; IND to play at either UAE or Oman for the 2023 Asia Cup, which is to be held in PAK and they play at Bangladesh for the ODI World Cup event.
Whether this actual discussion took place in the meeting is yet to be confirmed. However, many Indian journalists and experts have given their verdict; the Asia Cup will move out of Pakistan and the 2023 ODI World event will be played in India.
Pakistan World Cup neutral venue – What’s the truth?
The truth came out on the evening of Friday, March 31st when current PCB chairman Najam Sethi revealed that no such discussion took place in the ICC meeting.
“At no stage during Thursday’s media interaction, did I give any reference to the ICC or made any remarks on the ICC Men’s Cricket WC 2023, which is scheduled in October. This matter has not been mooted or discussed at any ICC forum so far.”
Sethi added while also agreeing on the fact that the “Hybrid model” for two neutral venues for the Asia event did indeed take place. The PCB also clarified that the comments made by the current chairman of the PCB were “misquoted, misinterpreted and misrepresented” by the leading English newspaper.
As for the notes on PAK playing at a neutral venue in the 2023 major event, it was quoted by the former CEO of the PCB and current GM of the ICC, Wasim Khan. His remarks were immediately condemned by a BCCI official as well as the ICC, which distanced itself from Wasim’s unwarranted remarks.
Also read: Ashwin on Asia Cup – “India Will Not Participate in Pakistan”
India-Pakistan Cricket Politics; A History since 2007
It is no stranger to either side given their big history since 1947. Their rivalry became the most intense matches of all time, often known as the “Mother of all matches.” While they have a huge history since 1947, we want to look back from 2007 onwards. 2007 was the last time both teams had played a Test series. Since then, they have played only one more series in 2012-2013.
Pakistan also hosted its first Asia Cup event in 2008. India travelled to the country. That was the last time that the Men in Blue visited their rival’s home. Since then, thrice the Men in Green travelled to their rival’s home country; both in major ICC tournaments and a bilateral series.
In the 2011 ODI tournament, an event jointly hosted by IND, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, PAK played all of their group games in Sri Lanka before playing their Quarter-Final in Bangladesh. When they met the host in the Semi-Finals, the Men in Green played in India.
The Green Team travelled to IND for the forgettable 2016 T20 WC, where they won only one game and failed to progress to the next round.
The “never-scheduled” six-series plan
Following in late 2012/ early 2013, the then Misbah ul-Haq team travelled to their rival’s home as they played two T20Is and Three ODIs. They left the country with a 1-1 series drawn in the shortest format while winning the bigger format 2-1.
Apart from the mentioned bilateral series and events, the famous INDO-PAK series were to be played in 2015, including their first Test series since 2007. An agreement was signed in 2014 that both sides will play at least six series till 2020, with PAK’s home games being in the UAE. But the continuous ignorance from the BCCI government did not let that happen.
An incident also took place when one of IND’s political activists, “Shiv Sena,” broke into the office to cancel the two board chairman’s meetings for the revival of the series.
Then in 2018, the Asia Cup was moved out of India. Political tensions between the two countries were cited as the reason for the change.