• Saturday, February 24, 2024

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Pakistan may lose solo hosting rights of yet another big cricket event due to India’s objection

A few months ago, India refused to send its team to Pakistan to take part in Asia Cup for security reasons which resulted in the tournament being played in two countries.

Indian and Pakistani cricket supporters at a cricket match between the two countries. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

PAKISTAN cricket was set to receive another major blow from the International Cricket Council (ICC), thanks to the country’s enmity with neighbour India.

If media reports are to be believed, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is unlikely to change its stance of not sending its national cricket team to Pakistan in the near future and that could put its Pakistan counterpart’s plans to hold the Champions Trophy in 2025 in doldrums.

A few months ago, India refused to send its team to Pakistan to take part in Asia Cup for security reasons which resulted in the tournament being played in two countries — Sri Lanka besides Pakistan. India played their matches, including the final, in the island nation, leaving the Pakistan cricket authorities upset.

Pakistan, too, had earlier expressed reservations over sending their team to India for the ICC 50-over World Cup but eventually they did.

BCCI secretary Jay Shah, son of Indian home minister Amit Shah, had clearly said that the Indian team will not travel to Pakistan until the federal government gives its nod. Former Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ramiz Raja had said then that Pakistan would also not go to India for the World Cup in a tit-for-tat response.

However, nothing of that sort had happened and not just the Pakistan cricket team but even Raja himself travelled to India for doing commentary during the World Cup, earning ridicule and criticism from both sides of the border.

Pakistan is apprehensive that things could be repeated during the 2025 tournament. A report in WION said that if India refused to travel to Pakistan, the tournament will be shifted to the UAE. In case, a 2023-like hybrid model is used again with Pakistan hosting some games beside the UAE, India will play their games in the Middle Eastern nation.

News agency Press Trust of India reported that PCB chief Zaka Ashraf and chief operating officer Salman Naseer met officials of the ICC’s executive board during their recent visit to Ahmedabad in India during the World Cup and spoke over the uncertainty of India visiting Pakistan for the 2025 tournament.

“Pakistani officials discussed the probability of the Indian board again refusing to send its team to Pakistan and made it clear that in any given situation, the ICC must avoid taking unilateral decisions on the tournament,” a source told PTI.

The source added that the PCB should be compensated if India refuses to send its team to Pakistan. The Pakistani board reportedly told ICC officials that many teams have toured Pakistan in recent years, including Australia, England and New Zealand and there were no security concerns during those visits.

“They also made it clear that in case of India not sending its team and its matches being moved to another country, then the ICC must compensate Pakistan for this,” the source added.

Pakistan lost hosting rights for a long time after the Sri Lankan national team faced terror attacks in Lahore in 2009, resulting in the players being airlifted to safety from the ground.

Champions Trophy will be played after a gap of eight years. Pakistan won the last edition which was played in England in 2017. They defeated arch-rivals India in the final. The 2025 edition will see the tournament featuring eight teams, including the hosts and top seven teams in the recently held World Cup.

The last time India toured Pakistan for a bilateral cricket series was in 2006.

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