LAHORE: In a significant development, the visiting delegation from the International Cricket Council (ICC) led by Chairman Greg Barclay and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Allardice announced on Wednesday that Pakistan is a peaceful country for sports.
The delegation expressed satisfaction with Pakistan’s ability to host the prestigious 2025 Champions Trophy. The announcement came during their visit to Lahore, where they sought assurances from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) regarding the Pakistani team’s participation in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup scheduled for October-November.
ICC Delegation Hints at Mediating Role and Urges PCB on Hybrid Model:
As reported by the private media on Thursday, the ICC delegation also hinted at playing a mediating role between the PCB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The delegation sought assurance from Pakistan regarding their participation in the World Cup and urged the PCB not to insist on implementing a hybrid model for their matches in the tournament.
Concerns over Hybrid Model and Potential Setbacks:
The issue of the hybrid model arose after PCB chief Najam Sethi stated that the Pakistan cricket team would refuse to travel to India for the World Cup if the Indian team did not visit Pakistan for the Asia Cup. The BCCI expressed concerns that accepting the PCB’s proposed hybrid model for the Asia Cup could lead to a similar demand for the ICC World Cup.
Possible Neutral Venue and Economic Impact:
Addressing the situation, Sethi mentioned that if the Pakistani government did not approve the team’s visit to India, the PCB would request the ICC to hold the matches at a neutral venue. However, such a scenario would be a setback for both the ICC and the BCCI, as an India-Pakistan match held in India attracts a massive crowd and brings substantial economic benefits to the Indian board and the ICC. On the other hand, holding the match in any other country would not generate the same level of attendance, which explains why BCCI Secretary Jay Shah was hesitant to accept the hybrid model for the Asia Cup.
Reluctance from BCCI and Possible Impact on Asia Cup Hosting:
However, the reports indicate that despite the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) endorsing the hybrid model, the BCCI remains reluctant, potentially jeopardizing Pakistan’s hosting of the Asia Cup.
ICC Delegation Emphasizes Development and Visits National Cricket Academy:
During their visit, ICC Chairman Greg Barclay and CEO Jeff Allardice also visited the National Cricket Academy and Museum, emphasizing the ICC’s commitment to promoting the development of cricket in Pakistan.
Positive Outlook for Pakistan’s Hosting and Future Involvement:
With the ICC delegation’s positive assessment of Pakistan’s sports-friendly environment and its endorsement of Pakistan’s hosting capabilities, cricket fans can eagerly anticipate the country’s potential involvement in major international tournaments.