Najam Sethi, the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has proposed the ‘Hybrid Model’ to host India’s Asia Cup matches at a neutral venue, while other teams play their matches in Pakistan. He said that they have sent a proposal regarding the matter to the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).
Earlier, the BCCI had refused to let Team India travel to Pakistan to play the Asia Cup 2023 because of the continuous political tensions between the two nations, as announced by secretary Jay Shah last October. They also demanded that the tournament be moved to a neutral venue altogether.
Asia Cup 2023 (ODI Edition) is set to be played from September 2 to 17 in Pakistan with six of the best teams from the continent, but the itinerary is yet to be announced. Countries that have already qualified to play the event are the hosts Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and one team will be decided through the ACC’s Premier Cup tournament currently underway.
In a press conference, Najam Sethi was quoted as saying, “We have been told that, maybe, the ice will keep on melting. If this happens when the Champions Trophy is held in Pakistan in 2025, India would consider playing in Pakistan. We have been advised to play the Asia Cup at a neutral venue and also go to India for the World Cup,” but he didn’t reveal who gave him and PCB that particular advice.
He mentioned that Pakistan Cricket will stay committed to playing the sport with India on level terms, “Our government has imposed no restrictions about playing against India. But I can say right now that public mood is: we are not needy and we can stand on our own feet financially and we want to play cricket with India honourably. We are also negotiating with the ACC.”
“We feel this hybrid experiment can also be applied when it is time for the World Cup. Our stance is that everything should be on a reciprocal basis. In the old times, yes, there were security issues in Pakistan. But now there are no issues, so what is India's excuse for not playing in Pakistan?” - Sethi added.