Pakistan cricket’s innovative hosting plan for the highly anticipated Asia Cup 2023 is facing opposition from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh cricket boards. The proposed hybrid model, designed to address the complex political landscape between India and Pakistan, has encountered hurdles as the Indian team is unable to make the journey to Pakistan.
Nevertheless, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have voiced their concerns, highlighting logistical intricacies and the sweltering heat in the UAE as significant factors leading to their objections.
The Hybrid Hosting Model: A Solution for India-Pakistan Tensions
To address the challenge posed by the political tensions between India and Pakistan, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) presented a hybrid hosting model for the upcoming Asia Cup 2023. Under this proposal, India’s matches would be exclusively held in the UAE, while the remaining matches of the tournament would be hosted in Pakistan. The aim was to ensure the participation of the Indian team despite the logistical difficulties surrounding their visit to Pakistan.
India and Pakistan have a history of tense relations, which have severely impacted the sporting ties between the two nations. Cricket, being the most popular sport in both countries, has borne the brunt of these tensions. As a result, the PCB had to devise a solution that would allow the Asia Cup 2023 to proceed without jeopardizing the participation of the Indian team.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Objections
Despite the Pakistan Cricket Board’s endeavors to propose a viable solution, both Sri Lanka Cricket and the BCB have expressed their reservations regarding the hybrid hosting model. The boards have highlighted the logistical complexities associated with traveling between Pakistan and another country during the Asia Cup.
With the tournament scheduled to take place in September, just a month before the ODI World Cup in India, the cricket boards have raised valid concerns about the practicality of managing two consecutive events in different countries within a short timeframe.
SLC and BCB raised concerns on logistics and Heat
The SLC and BCB believe that the proposed model would create significant logistical issues for the teams. Traveling between Pakistan and the UAE during the tournament would be complicated and time-consuming, which could impact the performance of the players and the overall organization of the event.
Another concern raised by the boards is the extreme heat in the UAE during the first half of September. Extreme weather conditions could pose health risks for the players and affect the quality of the matches.
PCBs voice previous Asia Cup Tournaments
In light of the concerns raised by SLC and BCB, a representative from the PCB has countered by stating that they possess emails from both boards affirming their readiness to participate in matches hosted in Pakistan. The official further emphasized that the previous edition of the Asia Cup was conducted in the UAE within the same timeframe that the boards are currently objecting to, suggesting that the proposed schedule is not unprecedented.
The PCB official highlighted the fact that previous Asia Cup tournaments had been successfully held in the UAE during similar timeframes. In both 2018 and 2021, the tournament was originally scheduled to take place in other countries but was moved to the UAE due to political tensions and other issues.
Alternative Suggestions: Hosting in Sri Lanka
To address the ongoing concerns and reach a potential resolution, one proposed solution is for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to adopt a similar approach to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). In the previous edition, SLC retained the hosting rights but decided to host the tournament outside their country.
Sri Lanka has emerged as a potential neutral venue, and SLC Secretary Mohan de Silva has expressed their willingness to host the Asia Cup 2023 if such an offer is presented. This suggestion offers an alternative option that accommodates the concerns of various boards and allows the tournament to proceed in a neutral and agreeable environment.
PCB as Official Host and its Stand on Hybrid Model
Even if the Asia Cup 2023 is held in Sri Lanka, Pakistan would still be considered the official host of the tournament. This would allow the PCB to maintain its hosting rights while ensuring a smooth organization of the event.
Despite the objections raised and alternative suggestions put forth, the PCB stands firm in its belief that the hybrid hosting model is the most suitable solution for all stakeholders. A PCB official emphasized that the proposed model effectively addresses concerns related to logistics, travel arrangements, and event production.
Furthermore, the official reiterated that if the hybrid model is rejected, Pakistan would choose not to participate in the Asia Cup. This stance highlights the PCB’s strong commitment to the proposed solution and its belief in its feasibility and benefits.
Afghanistan’s Neutral Position
Afghanistan, as a participant in the Asia Cup 2023, has taken a neutral position in the ongoing debate. A spokesperson for Afghanistan expressed their commitment to abiding by the decisions made by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) regarding the hosting arrangements. They stated that Afghanistan does not have a vested interest in supporting or objecting to any specific board’s stance on the matter.
Instead, their primary focus is on ensuring a fair and competitive tournament that contributes to the growth and development of cricket in the region. This stance highlights Afghanistan’s dedication to the spirit of sportsmanship and its broader goals for cricket in the Asian region.