Pakistan looked set to participate in the ODI World Cup 2023 after the ICC released the match schedule few weeks ago. But a stunning about-face from top Pakistan government officials seems to threaten the country’s participation at the ODI World Cup 2023.
Why is Pakistan Planning to Pull Out of the ODI World Cup 2023?
Pakistan’s planned pull-out of the ODI World Cup 2023 is a direct response to India’s conduct during preparations for Asia Cup 2023. Pakistan is on schedule to split hosting matches between their stadiums and cricket grounds in Sri Lanka because of India.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), India’s governing cricket body, deliberately frustrated Pakistan’s seamless hosting of Asia Cup 2023.
First, they rejected participating in Asia Cup 2023 entirely until all games are moved out of Pakistan. They later agreed to play in the tournament only if they get to choose venues in a preferred country.
It took several months before India agreed to a proposed hybrid model after ensuring Pakistan lost more than half of all scheduled matches to Sri Lanka. Out of 13 matches, India made sure Pakistan lost nine (9) games to Sri Lanka; only 4 matches will take place in the host country.
These actions angered ex-cricketers, Pakistani officials, and government representatives. A top Pakistan government minister commented about India’s conduct and requests ahead of a busy cricket calendar at Asia Cup 2023 and ODI World Cup 2023
“Pakistan is the host, it has the right to hold all the matches in Pakistan. That is what the cricket lovers want, I don’t want a hybrid model,”
When Will Pakistan Decide on their Participation at the ODI World Cup 2023?
The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shahbaz Sharif, has set up a high-powered committee to decide whether Pakistan’s participation at the ODI World Cup 2023 is in the country’s interest. This high-level committee includes the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Sports Minister, Interior Minister, Law & Justice Minister, and other senior officials.
Pakistan’s Sports Minister made some comments about the committee in a recent interview:
“The committee will be headed by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and I am among the 11 ministers who are part of it. We will discuss the issue and give our recommendations to the PM, who is also the patron-in-chief of PCB. The PM will take the final decision.”
What Does the Pakistan Cricket Board Want to Take Part in the ODI World Cup 2023?
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) governs the sport in Pakistan and looks set to scuttle India’s smooth preparation ahead of the ODI World Cup 2023. The Pakistan Sports Minister, Ehsan Mazari, also seems keen to support PCB officials in their proposed onslaught against India’s hosting of the ODI World Cup.
“My personal opinion, since the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) comes under my ministry, is that if India demands to play their Asia Cup games at a neutral venue, we would also demand the same for our World Cup games in India,” Mazari commented in a recent interview with an Indian tabloid.
The minister further commented about his confusion concerning India’s prolonged reluctance to play competitive cricket in Pakistan.
He also accused India’s government of politicizing sports and made several references to the improved safety standards accorded to any team visiting Pakistan for cricket or other sports. He also hopes India reconsiders and plays competitive cricket in Pakistan this year.
What is Pakistan’s Response to India’s Security Concerns about a Cross-Border Tour?
Asked about Pakistan’s security lapses in the past and India’s reluctance to play competitive cricket within Pakistani borders, Mazari dismissed such concerns in its entirety. He reiterated that Pakistan had their security issues sorted and have hosted teams like England and New Zealand in the past.
In his words, he said that any senior team visiting Pakistan for tours will get “presidential-level security”. He also mentioned how Pakistan has hosted several young Indian teams in different sports in recent years.
Mazari cited the success of Pakistan’s premier cricket competition, the Pakistan Super League. He talked about the presence of foreign players in their league and no security-related incidents occurring after several seasons.
What is the ICC Saying about Pakistan’s Reluctance to Take Part in the ODI World Cup 2023?
The International Cricket Council (ICC) believes that Pakistan will honor all agreements in place ahead of a busy cricket calendar this year. Some ICC officials have come out in recent weeks to express confidence that Pakistan will take part in the ODI World Cup 2023 in October.