PIK News | PCB mulling boycott if Asia Cup shifted to Sri Lanka: reports
PCB mulling boycott if Asia Cup shifted to Sri Lanka: reports
Published on: 11-May-2023
KARACHI: While opposing the possible shifting of this year’s Asia Cup to Sri Lanka, Pakistan cricket officials are seriously mulling boycotting the regional tournament if their proposal is not accepted by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), Press Trust of India news agency reported on Tuesday night.
Pakistan Cricket Board’s Interim Committee chairman chief Najam Sethi during his meeting with ACC officials in Dubai on Tuesday objected to the move to relocate the Asia Cup — originally scheduled to be hosted by Pakistan in September this year — to Sri Lanka instead of having it in the UAE as part of the hybrid model proposed by the PCB due to India’s refusal to send its team to Pakistan for the continental event.
According to an ESPNCricinfo report on Wednesday, Sri Lanka Cricket and the Bangladesh Cricket Board had rejected the hybrid model. “Sethi has stressed the ACC should accept Pakistan’s revised hybrid model proposal schedule for the Asia Cup and if at all the majority of members wish to have it elsewhere it must be held in the UAE like in 2018 and 2022,” the PTI quoted a “reliable PCB source” as saying. “Sethi rubbished the concerns of the BCCI conveyed to the ACC that it would be too hot to play in the UAE in September by pointing out [on Tuesday] that the BCCI had held its Indian Premier League in the UAE in September to November in 2020.” The source said the PCB was surprised to learn that the Sri Lankan board with back-door support from the BCCI had told the ACC it wants to host the Asia Cup this year. “It came as a surprise because earlier at the last ACC board meeting in February, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan had rejected the Sri Lankan proposal and it was agreed Pakistan would remain the [Asia Cup] host,” the source observed. Before leaving for Dubai, Sethi had told his officials to start working on having a tri-nation or four-nation event in Pakistan this year in the Asia Cup window if the continental event is not held in the country.
Another PTI report on Monday claimed the ACC had decided to move the Asia Cup out of Pakistan. Sri Lanka has emerged as a front-runner to host the six-nation tournament citing concerns over extremely humid conditions in the UAE. The PCB was forced to propose an alternative after the BCCI refused to send the Indian team to Pakistan due to diplomatic tension between the two neighbouring nuclear-armed countries. The PCB had proposed that India play their Asia Cup games in the UAE while Pakistan host the remaining matches of the continental event on home soil. “Sethi was in Dubai today [Tuesday] to procure support but to his horror, there were no takers for his proposal of Pakistan playing its games in Karachi or Lahore and India playing in the UAE. Sri Lanka was always with the BCCI and now even the Bangladesh Cricket Board seemed opposed to the idea,” an ACC source told PTI. “The ACC has always maintained that in principle the ‘hybrid model’ is unacceptable and the budgetary sanctions can never be passed.” Also it’s not about Pakistan hosting its own matches. It also means that if India and Pakistan are in the same group, the third team will be travelling to and fro between Dubai and a host city in Pakistan. “Also logistically, the broadcasters wouldn’t want to send separate units in two countries. Sri Lanka, just like the UAE, doesn’t require inter-city flights whether you play at the Khettarama [Premadasa Stadium], SSC or Galle or Kandy.” However, the ACC chairman Jay Shah will need to convene an executive body meeting to make the decision official. In the prevailing situation, whether Pakistan participates in the event or decides against coming to India for the World Cup remains to be seen. “Even the ICC won’t agree to Pakistan playing its matches outside India [during the World Cup]. So let’s see what the PCB decides,” the source added.