The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, Najam Sethi has reportedly told BCCI secretary Jay Shah that his country wants to host the Asia Cup and if the tournament is moved out, Pakistan will not send its team for the men’s ODI World Cup in India.
Sethi’s comments are on similar lines as his predecessor Ramiz Raja, who had reiterated that Pakistan could boycott the 50-over World Cup in India this year if the Asia Cup issue between the two cricket boards wasn’t resolved.
Pakistan was originally allotted the Asia Cup in September this year, but Shah, who is the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) president, had said in October last year that the Indian team will not tour Pakistan for the continental tournament due to diplomatic tensions.
The ACC is expected to shift the Asia Cup from Pakistan and decide on the alternate venue in March.
However, a well-informed source in the PCB told PTI that during the ACC executive board meeting held in Bahrain on Saturday, Sethi made Pakistan’s stance on the Asia Cup very clear to Shah that his country “will not forgo the hosting rights of either the Asia Cup or the Champions Trophy in 2025″.
“Sethi has made his stance very clear (to Shah) and he went to Bahrain after meeting Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif last Tuesday. Apparently, he has discussed the matter with the PM before going to Bahrain,” the source said.
“Sethi was clear that the Asia Cup is a multi-team event and the Pakistan government is willing to give security assurances to the Indian team. So, there is no reason for the BCCI to not send its team to Pakistan in September this year,” the source added.
“Sethi also made it clear that if the BCCI cannot get clearance from its government for the Asia Cup, Pakistan will also not travel to India for the (ODI) World Cup.” The source added that Sethi told the meeting in Bahrain that if India didn’t come to Pakistan, then both countries could play their matches in the two multi-team event at offshore venues.
The source rubbished reports that other ACC member countries, including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, had said they would have to get government clearances to play the Asia Cup in Pakistan.
“No such discussion took place. All the discussions centred around India-Pakistan cricket ties and the Asia Cup and World Cup.” The source said that after Sethi’s tough stance, it was decided the ACC will meet again in March and the matter will be taken forward.
“Sethi told the ACC members that before the next meeting, the BCCI should speak to its government and make its stance clear on whether it will send its team for the Asia Cup, so that Pakistan can also discuss with the ICC about playing its World Cup matches in India,” the source said.
The source added that Sethi asked the ACC members that when Pakistan was chosen as the host for the Asia Cup and the 2025 Champions Trophy, why didn’t the BCCI representatives raise their objection then.