Zaka Ashraf, Jay Shah met in Durban to address Asia Cup, World Cup concerns

Shah and Ashraf also focused on bilateral cricket relations between Pakistan and India

Zaka Ashraf, Jay Shah met in Durban to address Asia Cup, World Cup concerns PHOTO: Twitter

Zaka Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) interim management committee, met Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Jay Shah on Tuesday on the sidelines of an International Cricket Council meeting in Durban, South Africa.

According to sources, the meeting between the two officials was conducted in a friendly atmosphere. Shah extended his congratulations to Ashraf for assuming his position as the chairman of the PCB management committee, and they engaged in discussions on various topics.

One of the main subjects of their conversation was Pakistan's participation in the upcoming World Cup and the potential increase in matches to be played in Pakistan as part of the Asia Cup, according to the hybrid model that has been accepted. There were doubts cast on Asia Cup after Ehsan ur Rehman Mazari, the Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination, proposed that India should their Asia Cup matches in Pakistan before Pakistan participates in the World Cup in India. Mazari also suggested that more matches of the Asia Cup should be held in Pakistan.

It is worth noting that Mazari is a member of a prominent committee established by Pakistan's Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, to deliberate on Pakistan's participation in the World Cup hosted by India.

However, a "hybrid model" had already been agreed upon by the PCB, BCCI, and other members of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) during the tenure of the former chairman of the interim management committee, Najam Sethi. According to the currently accepted model, Pakistan will host four matches of the Asia Cup before the tournament moves to Sri Lanka.

Ashraf, in a recent presser, affirmed that the board would honor its commitment to the ACC and its members and proceed with the "hybrid model" for the Asia Cup. Although the PCB does not fully support this model, they will respect the decision made by the previous management.

Meanwhile, Ashraf extended an invitation to Shah to watch Asia Cup matches in Pakistan, which the BCCI secretary accepted.

"Pakistani people know how to welcome and take care of their guests. This is a good start. We will have more such meetings in future," Ashraf said.

Similarly, Shah also invited Ashraf to watch World Cup matches in India, which the PCB chief also accepted.

In addition to the Asia Cup and World Cup discussions, Shah and Ashraf also focused on bilateral cricket relations between Pakistan and India. Earlier that day, Zaka Ashraf expressed his intention to explore the resumption of bilateral cricket between the two countries in an interview with a local news outlet. He emphasized the importance of establishing confidence-building measures between the cricket boards of both nations and promoting cricket relations.

The last bilateral series between Pakistan and India occurred in 2012, and since then, they have only faced each other in multi-lateral tournaments.

Regarding Pakistan's participation in the World Cup, Ashraf stated that the committee formed by the prime minister would determine the venues and ensure adequate security arrangements in accordance with the requirements of the Government of Pakistan.

The 2023 World Cup is scheduled to take place from October 5 to November 19 in India.