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Pakistan Cricket Board is expected to take a bold stance. According to media reports, PCB will part ways with the Asian Cricket Council if the venue of Asia Cup 2023 is changed. Pakistan earned the hosting rights for the 2023 ODI tournament along with the hosting rights for the ICC Champions Trophy 2025.
Return of International Cricket in Pakistan
International cricket has completely returned to Pakistan and has hosted top-tier teams from the longest to the shortest format of the game. PCB has hosted 8 Test matches: 3 against Australia, 2 against South Africa, 2 against Sri Lanka and 1 against Bangladesh from 2019 to 2022. Moreover, 14 ODIs and 31 T20Is have also been hosted by Pakistan safely and successfully featuring Australia, England, West Indies, South Africa, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and World XI.
The New Zealand cricket team is set to tour Pakistan twice in the next 8 months for 2 Test matches, 8 ODIs and 5 T20Is leaving India the only top-ranked team to have not played any form of cricket in Pakistan since 2008.
BCCI refused to play Asia Cup 2023 in Pakistan
Earlier today, BCCI secretary and president Asian Cricket Council Mr Jay Shah gave a statement:
“We’ll have Asia Cup 2023 at a neutral venue. It’s the govt which decides over the permission of our team visiting Pakistan so we won’t comment on that but for the 2023 Asia Cup, it is decided that the tournament will be held at a neutral venue”
With the confidence of international sports associations, players, and cricket boards, refusing to play cricket in Pakistan is totally absurd.
Response of PCB to the Asian Cricket Council
No formal response has been yet released by PCB or Chairman Ramiz Hassan Raja; however, media reports suggest that Pakistan Cricket Board will leave the Asian Cricket Council if the venue of Asia Cup 2023 is changed to a neutral venue. PCB has a clear stance on hosting matches.
“It is now out of the equation because the security situation in Pakistan is normal and we have everything in place to host any international team. No more neutral venues for us,” a PCB official said on hosting matches at a neutral venue.
What are the options left now?
The most pragmatic option that would be accepted by both BCCI and PCB would be to host the tournament jointly in Pakistan and UAE. Pakistan Cricket Board can host India’s matches in Dubai while the remaining matches can be scheduled at Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi.
However, the other option would be to host the entire tournament in UAE without much excitement as the last two ACC tournaments are already hosted by the United Arab Emirates. Cricket pundits have criticized the toss factor in the emirates and have seen predictable results.
The last option and least likely option would be to continue the Asia Cup in Pakistan without the participation of the Indian cricket team. Financially it will be a big hit to the Asian Cricket Council if BCCI does not send their team.
Will Asian Cricket Council will die without PCB?
Pakistan Cricket Board is the 2nd revenue generating and richest board member of ACC and with PCB pulling out and the absence of India versus Pakistan encounters, it will be a big hit to the future of the Asian cricket council and might lead to the discontinuation of Asia Cups in the future.