India and Pakistan remain at loggerheads regarding the hosting rights for Asia Cup 2023 in September.
For the unversed, Pakistan was initially supposed to be the host nation for Asia Cup 2023. However, it was announced back in October 2022 that India was not planning to travel to neighbouring Pakistan.
A neutral venue such as UAE which has hosted the Asia Cup before was mulled as a possible venue.
But the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) responded by declaring that they would boycott the 2023 ODI World Cup in India - which is slated to start in October - should the Asia Cup be moved out of Pakistan, resulting in the current standstill.
A lot has transpired since this impasse first arose. After learning about India’s reservations about their county, Pakistan soon suffered another setback earlier in May when Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were reported to b backing the BCCI’s stance of moving the Asia Cup to a different venue.
However, there has been some positive development for Pakistan since then with the PCB reportedly garnering support for their hybrid model of hosting the Asia Cup.
As per PCB’s new hybrid model for hosting the tournament, they put forth two proposals. The first of which allows Pakistan to host all games while India plays their matches at a neutral venue.
The other proposal states that the tournament can be divided into two phases, allowing Pakistan to host the first round of games while India plays their games in a neutral venue in the second phase. The final will also be held in a neutral venue as per the second proposal.
Despite, PCB’s flexibility with regard to the Asia Cup 2023 hosting rights, India’s participation in it remains a big doubt with the chances of them entirely boycotting the tournament being a distinct possibility.
“I have not seen the proposal. But there has been no change in our stance. We want the tournament to be played at a neutral venue and not the UAE. We can’t risk any more injuries with the kind of heat there. Sri Lanka is best suited for the tournament. As of now, we have not discussed anything about boycotting it. Let’s first understand the situation and then we will take a call,” a senior BCCI official told InsideSport.
The BCCI had, in fact, earlier rejected the hybrid model and was insistent about the entire tournament being moved out of Pakistan. The Indian cricket board was happy for it to be held in Sri Lanka but Bangladesh was averse to this, resulting in no progress to the situation.
At the moment, neither cricket board look like they will back down from this situation. While Pakistan is adamant about hosting the Asia Cup, India insists that they aren’t willing to tour their neighbours.
As a result of the BCCI’s stance, whether Pakistan can fully host the 2025 Champions Trophy - which they have the right to - also remains to be seen.
That said, a solution to this issue needs to be found at the earliest and with an emergency meeting for the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) reportedly taking place sometime this week, we are likely to have more clarity about what lies ahead for Asia Cup 2023 very soon.Photo credit: Alamy