Asia Cup 2023 returns to Pakistan, says Sethi

Pakistan got permission to organize the Asia Cup 2023 on their country’s grounds. As we know, there was a lot of confusion and controversies regarding the Asia Cup issue this year in Pakistan.

One of the very noted competitors, India, objected to playing matches in Pakistan just after it was assumed that Pakistan would host the cup. However, after all the tantrums, Pakistan received the official license to host the Asia Cup with some essential terms and conditions attached.

Asia Cup 2023 in Pakistan:

Najam Sethi, Chairman of the PCB Management Committee, has shown gratitude to the Asian Cricket Council for accepting the idea of a hybrid model for the ACC Asia Cup 2023. It is now scheduled from 31st August to 17th September. It will be the first time since 2008 that matches of any multi-nation cricket tournament will be hosted in Pakistan. 15 years ago, Pakistan successfully hosted the 6-team Asia Cup tournament in the same ODI format.

Pakistan & their home matches:

Pak Cricket Board Management Committee spokesperson cum Chairperson Najam Sethi confirmed on Friday that the national team would play at least 2 matches of the Asia Cup 2023 on their home ground. After the Asian Cricket Council accepted the PCB’s proposal on a hybrid model for the tournament, Pakistani cricket fans eagerly awaited the announcement of the match schedules. According to the ACC, Pakistan will host 4 matches before the tournament shifts to Sri Lanka for the next 9 matches.

Since India will play the scheduled matches in Sri Lanka, Pakistan’s only group match at home could be against Nepal. The other 3 matches in Pakistan will likely be part of the second group, featuring Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. However, the PCB Chairman confirmed that Pakistan would have the opportunity to play at least two matches at their home venue. “Pakistan will play at least two matches at home. We are currently finalizing the schedule, so let us wait and watch.”

Few formalities by PCB:

The India-Pakistan ODI World Cup 2023 match is fixed for 15th October in Ahmedabad, with Pakistan playing across 5 venues during the league phase in India. Pakistan has yet to tour India since the 2016 ICC T-20 World Cup. Addressing Pakistan’s candidature in the World Cup 2023, Mr. Sethi mentioned that their board had applied to the International Cricket Council regarding the draft schedule. The reason was to emphasize that the Pakistan Cricket Board could not permit the fixture list unilaterally. Sethi explained, “We have written to the ICC stating that we cannot approve or disapprove this World Cup schedule.”

PCB MC Chairman also added that their government needs to decide, just like when it comes to their neighbour country India. Even it is the Indian government that decides when they go to play. So, he finds that there is no point in asking PCB whether they will play in Ahmedabad or not. He said, “When the time comes, the first decision will be whether we are going, and then the government will decide our destination. Our decision will be based on these two crucial factors.”

Sethi with the Chairmanship:

Mr. Najam Sethi exclaimed, “Pakistan team is one of the best and most important teams in the world, and any mega event cannot be played without the Pakistan team. Even he also responded to speculations about a change in PCB chairpersonship. Sethi said that he would accept any decision made by the honourable Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, also the PCB’s patron. He clarified, “I have heard speculations regarding the PCB chairmanship. I do not involve myself because it depends on the patron.”

However, Sethi concluded the statement, “Our responsibility was to restore the 2014 Constitution. We are now ready for elections with regional and departmental representatives on board. We are awaiting two nominees, and once we have them, I will announce the elections. I do not want any mess. I am okay if the patron and Zardari Sahab want me to continue. If they want Zaka Sahab to become the PCB Chairman, I would welcome their decision and step aside.”

Conclusion:

Finally, Sethi praised the ACC for the great initiative of Asia Cup 2023 stating, “I appreciate the efforts of ACC President Jay Shah to strengthen the council so that we can collectively continue to protect each other’s interests and also provide opportunities and platforms to emerging Asian nations.”

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