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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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PCB could withdraw from the 2023 Asia Cup if the tournament is moved from Pakistan due to India

PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja has said Pakistan could consider withdrawing from the 2023 Asia Cup if their hosting rights are revoked due to India not traveling to the country.

“It’s not like we don’t have hosting rights and we’re begging to host it,” Ramiz said on the sidelines of the Pakistan-England test in Rawalpindi. “We won the law scholarship. If India doesn’t come, they won’t come. If the Asia Cup is taken away from Pakistan, we might be the ones to withdraw.”

In October, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah, who is also the chairman of the Asian Cricket Council, had said after the annual general meeting of the Indian board that “the Asia Cup 2023 will be held at a neutral venue” because India could not go to Pakistan to travel. A few days after Shah’s remarks, India’s Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, who is a former BCCI president, said India’s trip to Pakistan would depend on the advice of the country’s home ministry.

India’s last trip to Pakistan was in 2008, for the Asia Cup, while Pakistan last came to India for the 2016 T20 World Cup. Due to tense political relations, there has been no bilateral cricket between the countries since Pakistan played India in 2012-2013 toured for a white-ball series, and the teams only played each other at ACC and ICC events. They played each other twice at the 2022 Asia Cup in the UAE and once at the T20 World Cup in Melbourne in October.

“We have shown that we can host great teams,” said Ramiz. “I can understand issues related to bilateral cricket, but the Asia Cup is a multinational tournament, almost the size of the World Cup for the Asian bloc.

“Why give it to us in the first place and then make all these statements about India not traveling to Pakistan? I accept that India will not come because the government will not allow them to come – fine. To win away from the host on that basis is not good.”

Ramiz said moving next year’s Asia Cup from Pakistan to a neutral venue would be “giving in” to the political circumstances, and that efforts should be made to play bilaterally and in both countries.

“Common sense,” Ramiz told BBC’s Test Match Special, when asked what it took for India to play in Pakistan. “There is no game if India and Pakistan are not playing. I have mentioned it so many times. I have always been loved in India; I have done so many IPL editions [as a commentator]. I know the fans want to see India against Pakistan.

“You saw what happened during the World Cup: 90,000 fans showed up [at MCG]. I am a bit disappointed in the ICC. When presented to the FIFA president why the US is playing against Iran, Iran has so many problems with women’s rights, he took up football and said that it can solve many problems. Through sport we can take care of the tribal mentality. I feel like bat and ball are talking.”

The timing of this matter has the potential to develop into something bigger, especially with the next men’s ICC world tournament – the 50-over World Cup – set to be held in India in October-November 2023. Pakistan has already raised the possibility of withdrawing. out if the Asia Cup is moved from Pakistan.

“What happens if the government of Pakistan does not allow Pakistan to travel to India due to security concerns?” Ramiz said when asked if he was concerned about the consequences of a withdrawal. “It’s quite an emotional topic here. The debate was started by BCCI in a sense. We had to react. Test cricket needs India against Pakistan.”

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