ICC Delegation Visit

Pakistan has made it clear that it will participate in the upcoming World Cup in India only if the country’s cricket board is provided with a guarantee that the hosts of the 50-over showpiece will return the favour by travelling across the border for the ICC Champions Trophy in 2025. This has now been a lingering issue because of the BCCI’s unreasonable stance and power imbalances within the structure of the game, and Pakistan is right to put forth this ultimatum in front of the ICC.
As per reports, this demand was placed in front of ICC chairman Greg Barclay and chief executive Geoff Allardice on the second and final day of the officials’ tour to Pakistan on Wednesday. Mr Najam Sethi has unequivocally stated that boycotting the World Cup is very much a possibility given that India has already refused to send its team to the country for the Asia Cup scheduled in September. The PCB has shown a lot of flexibility with regard to the concerns raised by the BCCI. In fact, Mr Sethi also proposed a hybrid model for the tournament, which would see group matches not involving India held in Pakistan before the event moves to a neutral venue. But thus far, the Indian Board has not responded favourably to this offer.
However, the Asia Cup has little to do with the ICC and comes under the domain of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). Therefore, it makes sense to discuss the Champions Trophy, the hosting rights of which were awarded to Pakistan two years ago.
Sources claim that the visiting delegation of the ICC has given assurances that all members including India will play the Champions Trophy 2025 in Pakistan. This is of course encouraging, but it is still too soon to say anything given how the BCCI has a precedent of getting its own way because of the influence it wields. The PCB however, should stand its ground because these double standards have been maintained for far too long, and the more we comply, the further the playing field will tilt in the favour of the BCCI at the expense of other playing nations.

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