Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials have reportedly made it clear to International Cricket Council (ICC) officials that Pakistan will only travel to India, for the upcoming World Cup 2023, if the neighboring country gives a guarantee in written form that they will send their team to Pakistan in the 2025 Champion’s Trophy.
PCB officials placed the demand for give and take from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in front of two top ICC officials – Chairman Greg Barclay and CEO Geoff Allardice- on the second day of their tour at the board’s headquarters.
PCB interim management committee chairman Najam Sethi spelled it out that Pakistan boycotting World Cup in India and playing their matches at a neutral venue is “very much a possibility”. This will be seen as a retaliation by the country, if India will not negotiate on Asia Cup, which is scheduled to be played in Pakistan in September 2023.
The BCCI, so far, has also rejected the revised version of a hybrid model proposed by the PCB, in which initial group stage matches, except the matches of India, will be played in Pakistan and the rest of tournament will shift to a neutral venue. Even if the proposal is accepted, the PCB would mull playing the World Cup at a venue outside India and would provide the latter the same option come the Champions Trophy.
Asia Cup so far, is not a matter of concern, with the ICC.
Najam Sethi and co sat down at the table with the two top officials of ICC, but the minutes of the meeting have not been made public yet.
PCB asked the ICC officials for a formal assurance of India’s participation in the Champions Trophy, the hosting rights of which were awarded to Pakistan two years ago.
Barclay and Allardice’s visit, although a “scheduled” one, was a high-profile one given the scenario, but there has been silence from both the ICC and the PCB and neither have made any officials announcements so far.
Discussions over the ICC’s expected revenue sharing model — leaked figures of which have revealed that India would take away 38.5 per cent of the body’s revenue, while Pakistan would get a mere 5.75 per cent — also continued between the PCB and the ICC officials.
According to sources, Pakistan’s concerns on its deadlock with the BCCI will be discussed during the upcoming ICC Board meetings.
However, given India’s stranglehold over the world’s cricket economy, it would be difficult for the ICC to entertain PCB’s asks. In such circumstances, the PCB may well consider forfeiting it’s matches in the World Cup.