Sunday, May 07, 2023
The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Najam Sethi, is set to ask for a "written guarantee" from BCCI supremo Jay Shah regarding the Indian cricket team's participation in the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy, before deciding on their national team playing its ODI World Cup games in India later this year.
With the 2023 World Cup scheduled to begin on October 5, BCCI has identified Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kolkata as possible venues for the matches, according to the Press Trust of India. However, with the ACC yet to confirm the proposed 'Hybrid Model' for the upcoming Asia Cup, where India played its matches in UAE and Pakistan play their games in their home country, Sethi has been advised to take a hardline stance.
According to a reliable source, Sethi will visit Dubai on May 8, where he will hold meetings with officials from the ACC and the International Cricket Council.
During his visit, Sethi is expected to lobby for Pakistan's stance that they will not play their World Cup matches in India unless the BCCI and ICC provide written guarantees that India will come to Pakistan to play in the 2025 Champions Trophy.
The source in the PCB said that Sethi has met with some government officials who have advised him on whether Pakistan should participate in the Asia Cup if it is not held in Lahore and Dubai as proposed by the PCB under its hybrid model plan to the ACC.
The government has given tacit approval to convey a strong stance to the ACC members about hosting the Asia Cup in September.
The PCB chairman will make it very clear to the ACC members that either they accept Pakistan's hybrid proposal or the country will not take part in the competition this year if it is moved from Pakistan. He is unwilling to accept more delays on scheduling the Asia Cup.
Sethi is ready to make some hard decisions and is not willing to accept any further delays from the ACC on finalising venues and schedules for the Asia Cup. According to the source, Sethi is now clear that if there are no Asia Cup matches in Pakistan, then the Pakistan team will not participate in the Asia Cup.
Sethi is scheduled to return from Dubai on May 11, and it remains to be seen if he will receive the guarantees he seeks from BCCI.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding the participation of the Indian cricket team in the 2025 Champions Trophy could have significant implications for the forthcoming ODI World Cup in India, and Sethi's stance is a clear indication of how seriously the PCB is taking this issue.