PCB could pull out of 2023 Asia Cup if tournament is moved out of Pakistan

Sports Dec, 2 2022
PCB could pull out of 2023 Asia Cup if tournament is moved out of Pakistan
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Islamabad: PCB chairman Ramiz Raja has said that Pakistan may consider pulling out of the 2023 Asia Cup if their hosting rights are withdrawn on account of India not travelling to the country. "It's not as if we don't have hosting rights and we're pleading to host it," Ramiz said on the sidelines of the Pakistan-England Test in Rawalpindi.

"We won the rights fair and square. If India doesn't come, they won't come. If the Asia Cup gets taken away from Pakistan, maybe we're the ones that pull out." In October, BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who is also the Asian Cricket Council president, had said after the Indian board's annual general meeting that "the Asia Cup 2023 will be held at a neutral venue" because India couldn't travel to Pakistan. A couple of days after Shah's comments, India's sports minister Anurag Thakur, who is a former BCCI president, said India's travel to Pakistan would depend on advice from 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. Owing to strained political relations, there has been no bilateral cricket between the countries since Pakistan toured India in 2012-13 for a white-ball series, and the teams have only played each other at ACC and ICC events. They played each other twice during the 2022 Asia Cup in the UAE and once in the T20 World Cup in Melbourne in October. "We've shown we can host great teams," Ramiz said.

"I can understand issues relating to bilateral cricket, but the Asia Cup is a multi-nation tournament, almost as big as the World Cup for the Asian bloc. "Why give it to us in the first place and then make all those statements about India not travelling to Pakistan? I accept that India won't come because the government won't allow them to come - fine. But to take the Asia Cup away from the host on that basis isn't right." Ramiz said that moving next year's Asia Cup from Pakistan to a neutral venue would be "caving in" to political circumstances, and that efforts should be made to play bilaterally and in both countries.

Published in The Daily National Courier, December, 03 2022

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