Monday, April 10, 2023

Giving up right to host 2023 Asia Cup not an option: Najam Sethi

Najam Sethi during a press conference at Gaddafi Stadium on March 18, 2023. — AFP
Najam Sethi during a press conference at Gaddafi Stadium on March 18, 2023. — AFP

Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee Najam Sethi has rejected any possibility of giving away Pakistan's right to host the upcoming Asia Cup, saying that there it was "not an option".

In September this year, Pakistan is scheduled to host the much-anticipated event. However, following India's refusal to travel to Pakistan, the future hangs in balance.

After presenting a hybrid model at Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting last month, the de facto PCB head said there losing hosting rights would be a huge financial loss for the cricket board and was "not an option".

"It is simple, we worked out a plan to host Asia Cup on a hybrid model. If India doesn't want to play in Pakistan, we will host them at a neutral venue," he said while speaking at a programme on Geo News.

"We presented the hybrid model in the ACC meeting. Pakistan and India will play each other at least twice. This match generates more than half of the revenue. We have calculated the extra budget and told ACC about it," he added.

"If they [India] are willing to play in Pakistan, they are welcome. If they want to play at a neutral venue, we are ready. There is no option other than hosting this event; otherwise, we will not play," he maintained.

Sethi also said that PCB had done all of the planning including the schedule based on the hybrid model. "We have prepared a schedule and already presented it in the ACC meeting. We have also made a plan for logistics. On our side, everything is final. We just need a green signal," he asserted.

The Asia Cup deadlock continues as India is not willing to go to Pakistan due to political differences.

Last year, former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja made bold statements after Indian cricket board secretary Jay Shah — who is also president of the ACC — said that India "can't" send a team to Pakistan, adding the Asia Cup would be moved to a neutral venue.

His announcement last year caught Pakistan by surprise, with the then PCB chairman warning it could "split" the international cricket community.

Sethi, since taking charge in December last year, has been trying to sort out the Asia Cup matter. The Asian event (50-over format) is expected to be played in September this year.