Pakistan wants its matches away from India too

If the Indian cricket team doesn’t visit Pakistan for the September Asia Cup, Pakistan won’t go to India for the ICC World Cup 2023, which happens in October–November. According to a representative who attended the meeting, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) adopted this stance at the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) board meeting on Saturday.

BCCI officials do not see this bringing any change in their position. The BCCI-PCB stand-off will now take place when the ACC reconvenes in Dubai in March. This happens a day before the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) quarterly board meeting there.

There is “a productive debate” about the Asia Cup. As per a statement from the ACC, whose chairman is BCCI secretary Jay Shah. However, there was no agreement on the request to move the event to a neutral location.

“Even Pakistan’s games at the ODI World Cup in India should be taken to neutral sites if that is the course of action. Both are international events” according to a PCB spokesman.

The BCCI vs PCB tussle continues

Notably, Pakistan cricket and India do not play bilateral cricket. They only meet in global events like ODI World Cup or multi-team events since 2013. It is due to strained political tensions between the two countries. India’s last trip to Pakistan was for the 2008 Asia Cup. 

While Pakistan cricket team’s last visit to India was for the 2016 ICC T20 World Cup. The two teams last played each other at the 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup in Melbourne on October 23.

Till 2027, no bilateral series between Indian cricket and Pakistan cricket will take place. The board did not include any bilateral matches with Pakistan. It is because they left those columns blank in the Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the 2023–2027 cycle that was given to all state boards.

The last time India visited Pakistan was for the 50-over Asia Cup in 2008. They lost the final in Karachi to Sri Lanka. Since the white-ball series played in India in 2012–2013, no bilateral matches between the neighbours have been played. Since then, Pakistan has travelled for the 2016 T20 World Cup. It was the final ICC event to be held in India.

India and Pakistan share strained political relations. Thus, the Board of Control for Cricket in India can’t take any decision on bilateral series with Pakistan cricket. This would happen only if it gets a nod from the Government of India.

As per an article in Indian Express, Pakistan would not play a bilateral match until 2027. But India will play several bilateral games across all formats, albeit fewer than in the previous cycle (163 to 141).

This happens since the Indian Premier League has a lot of time and an annual ICC event like the ODI World Cup(75-80 days every season). 

Reports from the recent Asian Cricket Council(ACC) meeting

Officials from the BCCI are dismissive and do not believe that this will cause them to reconsider their minds. The BCCI-PCB dispute will now be a matter of debate when the ACC meets again in March in Dubai.

Although this is how PCB intends to argue its case at the ACC and ICC meetings, Indian board officials view this as nothing more than public posturing for the ODI world cup and claim that relocating the Asia Cup 2023 to a neutral location is imminent, with the UAE being the most likely host. “It is up to our government to make a decision, not the BCCI. The PCB needs to be aware of it “a BCCI representative says.

Another BCCI official says, “Even when Pakistan cricket has the Asia Cup hosting rights, it happens with the prior knowledge of both cricket boards, that any visit to the other nation will require a government sanction, which we do not have at this point.”

Regarding the PCB’s threat to skip India for the ICC World Cup 2023, BCCI officials claim that the “ODI World Cup is an issue for the ICC to look at” because India is only the host country for the ICC World Cup 2023.

Though the decision for the ICC World Cup 2023 has been delayed by a month, BCCI does not worry because of the success of the ICC World Cup 2023 event. It is because the ODI World Cup depends on the Indian cricket industry regarding media rights and sponsors.

The PCB released a statement on Sunday on security in Pakistan. As the country hosts a cricket match “Sri Lanka recently visited Pakistan in 2017 and 2019, and Bangladesh in 2020. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have confirmed their travels to Pakistan in the 2023–2027 FTP.

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