Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan's threat of boycott puts India on backfoot

The team expressed their willingness to participate in a "hybrid model" of the Asia Cup

Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan's threat of boycott puts India on backfoot PHOTO: AFP

The upcoming Asia Cup 2023 is facing potential boycott threats from Pakistan, which has forced India to consider a "hybrid model" for the tournament.

Under this proposed model, other teams would play their matches in Pakistan, while the Indiam team would play their matches in another country. 

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) refused to play in UAE due to concerns about hot weather and instead suggested Sri Lanka as a potential host country. Meanwhile, Pakistan put forward Oman as an alternative option. England was also considered as a possible venue, although it is far away. Talks are progressing rapidly in this regard, and a final schedule is expected to be released within the next 4-5 days.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) did not accept the suggestion of swapping the host country to another location, and talks are currently ongoing to determine the final schedule for the tournament.

The board has taken a strong stance regarding the upcoming World Cup, insisting that if the Indian team does not participate in the Asia Cup, the Pakistan team will not travel to India for the World Cup. 

There have been discussions about potentially withdrawing Pakistan from hosting the Asia Cup and replacing it with Sri Lanka or Bangladesh, with the hope that in two years' time, relations between India and Pakistan may have improved, and the Asia Cup could be held in Pakistan once again. 

However, in order to withdraw from hosting the Asia Cup and replace it with Sri Lanka or Bangladesh, PCB officials strongly rejected the proposal and stated that if this were to be done, the event should be organized without Pakistan's participation. 

Despite the potential financial loss, Pakistan emphasized the importance of taking care of the sentiments of their fans rather than the monetary aspect. 

Additionally, the country has already earned significant revenue from the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and would not agree to a complete shift of the Asia Cup to a neutral venue.

During the meeting, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) expressed their understanding of India's concerns but urged for a solution to be found as important events such as the World Cup and Champions Trophy are approaching. 

They proposed that only the matches of the Indian team be transferred to another country to avoid the increased expenses of broadcasting and traveling in two countries. Pakistan also presented a schedule, but time was requested for consideration. 

Despite concerns about traveling to Pakistan, the PCB had already taken steps to ensure safety and security for all teams. A representative from Pakistan made an announcement that if any country had concerns or objections about sending their team, they should present a letter from their government stating so.

However, it was noted that apart from India, no other country expressed any apprehensions about sending their team to Pakistan.