As the Indian Premier League (IPL) comes to a close, the fate of the Asia Cup will be decided on the sidelines. This is according to the President of the Asian Cricket Council, and the decision holds extreme importance as Pakistan’s hosting rights have been affected. India’s refusal to cross the border was a blow to Pakistan’s opportunity to host the tournament on its grounds. As a result, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has proposed a hybrid model to keep at least a few matches in the country.
However, this proposed model has come under scrutiny, with major players such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka expressing concerns about the logistics of the operation. The fear that Pakistan may not be able to host any matches is very high, and while efforts have been made to accommodate the concerns and make necessary adjustments, there is uncertainty regarding the acceptance of the decision. It would be unusual to have a tournament “hosted” by Pakistan but played in the UAE.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been keen on pushing the sport out of the region and has tactfully influenced these developments. In response, Pakistan has also threatened to boycott the World Cup in India. The decision that will be reached holds great significance in determining cricketing relations and future trajectories. It is important for all participating boards to understand our perspective and agree to the hybrid model, as failure to do so will strain relations.
While the unfolding events are yet to reveal the final outcome, there is a real possibility that Pakistan may have to boycott the upcoming World Cup in India, as bilateral cricket has become a regrettable casualty of strained relations between the two countries. Neutral venues have become characteristic of Pakistan-India cricket, but the BCCI’s assertive tactics need to cease. A rational decision must be made regarding this matter, as reiterated by the Chairman of the PCB, Najam Sethi, on several occasions.