Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Najam Sethi, has suggested that the cricket body may lose up to $3 million USD in revenue if they fail to compete at Asia Cup 2023. Members of the PCB, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) are trying to work out a solution after issues around hosting became obvious in October 2022.
Controversy over the Asia Cup 2023 hosting rights for Pakistan surfaced when Jay Shah, a BCCI and ACC official, confirmed that India will not travel to the neighboring nation for any competitive cricket match.
Jay Shah told reporters that India will only opt to play Pakistan and other competing nations at the Asia Cup 2023 outside Pakistan. Issues surrounding the rift between cricket boards of both countries and the ACC are common; especially when a match between India v Pakistan is scheduled.
Why is Pakistan Ready to Lose $3 million USD to Skip Asia Cup 2023?
PCB chair Sethi says Pakistan’s readiness to skip Asia Cup 2023 and lose about $3 million USD is “a matter of principle”. Pakistan holds the hosting rights and have made concessions to host India at a suitable venue agreed on by both cricket boards and the ACC.
“We have made it very clear that unless; the Asia Cup is held on a hybrid model like we have proposed … we will not accept any other schedule and neither play”.
Pakistan will host this year’s Asia Cup sometime in September but India continues to make it clear that they will not honor any visit to Pakistani cricket grounds for competitive matches. Sethi has maintained that the PCB will not forfeit their hosting rights and accuses India of concealing true reasons for refusing to play in Pakistan. He also maintained that India should provide written proof of the reasons behind their continued refusal to tour Pakistan:
“Security is no excuse for them now and we have told them if their government is not giving them clearance to play in Pakistan show us some written proof of this … other teams including Australia, England, New Zealand are playing in Pakistan without any issues there should be no security concerns for India to tour Pakistan.”
Sethi also took a jibe at ACC officials, telling them that 80% of their entire revenue earned come from Pakistan v India matches.
What is a Hybrid Model, and why is Pakistan Proposing It for India at the Asia Cup 2023?
A hybrid model is commonly used whenever two opposing teams play matches at a location outside the hosting country. The hybrid model gives a hosting country the power to consult and recommend suitable locations for a participating team to play their matches at a neutral location.
Hybrid models are common for single matches, but hosts may also allow teams wishing to play whole tournaments at an offshore venue.
PCB is recommending a hybrid model for India at the Asia Cup 2023 in light of the BCCI’s refusal to visit Pakistan for games. With this model, India will be able to play their group games at any location agreed on by PCB, BCCI, and ACC officials.
India may also play Super 4s games away from Pakistan if they qualify from their group. There is no word yet if PCB will allow the Asia Cup 2023 final to hold outside Pakistan if India gets to that stage.
Why is India Refusing to Tour Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2023?
India was at the receiving end of a terrorist attack in 2008 by an al-Qaeda affiliate in Mumbai. Over 100 people died in the attack with more than 200 reported injured. India severed ties with Pakistan on many fronts and the relationship with both countries have gone sour ever since.
For example, players from Pakistan are not allowed to feature in the Indian Premier League; and it has been so for over a decade. Also, Indian players face several restrictions from participating in the Pakistan Premier League.
Both teams have played against each other since that event in 2008, but these games have always taken place at neutral venues. Pakistan has been able to redeem their severely-battered image since the late 2000s where visiting countries suffered terrorist attacks. Many teams from foreign cricket boards have toured Pakistan in recent years, but India seems to maintain its post-2008 stance. The BCCI has a massive influence in the ACC and other regional cricket bodies, so it may take a long while before we see a game between Pakistan v India at a home stadium.