Top brass of ICC wants assurance from PCB that team will be sent to India for ODI World Cuptext_fields
Karachi: The PCB has been asked to ensure that it will not push for the implementation of a hybrid format for its matches during the ODI World Cup in India later this year by the chairman and CEO of the International Cricket Council (ICC), who are now in Lahore.
Insiders told PTI that Greg Barclay, the chairman of the ICC, and Geoff Allardice, the CEO, came expressly to Lahore to speak with the Pakistan Cricket Board about the national team's participation in the World Cup in October-November.
The development comes after PCB chief Najam Sethi made it clear that the team will not travel for the World Cup in India if the Rohit Sharma-led side doesn’t visit Pakistan for the preceding Asia Cup. “The ICC and World Cup hosts, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are concerned with the hybrid model being pushed by Najam Sethi who heads the cricket management committee of the PCB.
“Although the hybrid model has been suggested by Sethi for the Asia Cup which precedes the ICC event, the concern remains that once accepted for the regional event the PCB might also then ask the ICC to implement it for the World Cup when it comes to Pakistan playing in India,” he explained.
Sethi has already indicated that if the Pakistan government doesn’t give clearance or has security concerns about sending the team to India, PCB could ask the ICC to hold Pakistan’s matches at a neutral venue.
“Naturally neither the ICC nor the BCCI want such a situation since Pakistan’s unequivocal participation in matches in India would guarantee the success of Indo-Pakistan matches and also the tournament itself.” Another source said this was the primary reason why BCCI secretary Jay Shah was still reluctant to accept the hybrid model for the Asia Cup and support having three or four matches of the tournament in Pakistan and the remaining games in UAE or Sri Lanka.
Pakistan is the host of the Asia Cup and Sethi has said repeatedly that if the tournament is moved to one neutral country from Pakistan, it will not take part in the competition.
He has also hinted that if Pakistan didn’t get to host some Asia Cup matches it could have an adverse bearing on the World Cup as well.
“The ICC officials are trying to work as a bridge between the PCB and BCCI and resolve the outstanding issues pertaining to the Asia Cup and World Cup.”
With PTI inputs