New Delhi: The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is likely to approve Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) proposed hybrid model for the Asia Cup 2023, which includes Sri Lanka as the neutral venue where India can play their games.
According to an ESPNcricinfo report, the PCB’s model sees four — and possibly five — of the tournament’s 13 games being played in Pakistan. All the India-Pakistan games will be played in Sri Lanka, as will the final if India is involved.
The window reserved for the tournament currently is between September 1-17. For the Pakistan leg, the games are likely to be played in Lahore.
The Asia Cup 2023 was scheduled to be held in Pakistan in September. However, BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who is also the president of the ACC, last year had made it clear that the Indian team will not travel to Pakistan for the continental championship and demanded that the event be moved to a neutral venue.
Reacting to BCCI’s decision to not travel Pakistan for Asia Cup, PCB threatened to boycott the ODI World Cup, which will be played in India in October-November.
In light of India and Pakistan’s reluctance to travel to each other’s countries because of ongoing political tensions between the governments of the two countries, the proposal of a hybrid model emerged as a viable solution. The move will also ensure that PCB can retain the hosting rights for the continental event.
The report further said the PCB head Najam Sethi had presented details of the hybrid model to Pankaj Khimji, head of Oman Cricket and the ACC’s vice-president, in a meeting in Dubai a couple of weeks ago.
With the probable approval of the Hybrid model, there is a possibility for an agreement that could ease Pakistan’s travel to India for the ICC World Cup
India and Pakistan have been grouped together alongside Nepal in the six-team Asia Cup, which will be played in the 50-over format in preparation for the ODI World Cup in October-November. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan are the sides featured in the other group.
The top two teams from each group advance to the Super Four stage and from there, the top two teams play in the final.
Notably, Pakistan and India do not play bilateral cricket and only meet in global tournaments or multi-team events since 2013 due to strained political tensions between the two countries. The two teams last played each other at the 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia.