The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has agreed to the hybrid model for Asia Cup 2023. Now, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), in a meeting with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and other cricketing boards, has approved the model with slight amendments.
Asia Cup 2023 is all set to be played with PCB’s hybrid model, while Pakistan retains the hosting rights.
The PCB favors the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the neutral venue, considering it a smart and effective revenue gateway for Pakistan. However, other boards, including the Indian Cricket Board, argued for an alternative venue. Consequently, the ACC has finalized Sri Lanka as the neutral venue for the tournament. Pakistan and Sri Lanka will now co-host the Asia Cup 2023.
According to the proposed hybrid model, the first four or five matches will be played in Pakistan, with the remainder of the tournament moving to Sri Lanka, where India will have the opportunity to play their group matches.
The PCB had been ready to show flexibility over a tit-for-tat stance for the World Cup had the Indian board rejected the hybrid model. The former had also expected the Pakistan government to grant approval for the country’s team to travel to India for the 50-over showpiece “much easily” if the proposed model was accepted.
It is, therefore, understood that Pakistan will feature in India for the first time since 2016. Whether they take on the hosts, their arch-rivals, in Ahmedabad as proposed in a draft schedule sent by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to the boards of the participating sides is also to be decided by the country’s government.
As per media reports, the PCB, having received the draft schedule as well, has started it’s consultations with the government over the fixture list and a decision is expected to be made in the coming week.
That would also mean that the official schedule of the World Cup will be released just over three months ahead of the first game of the tournament on October 5.
According to the draft schedule, Pakistan will kick off their campaign on October 6 against one of the teams coming through from the preceding qualifying round in Hyderabad before taking on another qualifier at the same venue on October 12.
The Babar Azam-led unit is scheduled to fly out to Ahmedabad for the high-octane clash against India on October 15 before playing Australia five days later in Bengaluru and Afghanistan and South Africa in Chennai on October 23 and 27.
After locking horns with Bangladesh in Kolkata four days later, Pakistan will return to Bengaluru for their match against New Zealand on November 5 before concluding the league stage with their fixture against England in Kolkata on November 12.
The dates and venues for the tournament’s semi-finals and final have not been included in the draft schedule