The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still undecided about India’s participation at the Asia Cup 2023 under a hybrid model. Controversy over the stance of BCCI officials opposing the model has raged on for several weeks, irritating members of Pakistan’s cricket governing body.
Chair of the Management Committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Najam Sethi recently shared their proposal to Asian Cricket Council (ACC) officials. The proposal sought to address India’s concerns about their players and not visiting Islamabad or any other Pakistani city for the tournament.
Some ACC members gave their nod to the proposal, but BCCI officials are still refusing to okay India’s participation at Asia Cup 2023.
What is the PCB’s Hybrid Model?
The PCB suggested a model where group matches of the Asia Cup 2023 will take place in Pakistan except for games involving India. Pakistan’s cricket governing body also suggested that knockout matches and a potential final (should India qualify) will take place at a neutral venue.
However, the BCCI has always rejected the proposal, calling for the entire tournament to take place in Sri Lanka or any other venue outside Pakistan. India is not keen on backing the PCB’s model even if other participating nations haven’t done so.
Why is India Rejecting the PCB’s Proposed Model for Asia Cup 2023?
India and Pakistan have several long-standing political issues. Many commentators believe the rift between both countries is why they can’t come to an agreement on the Asia Cup 2023 model.
Some reports also suggest that the BCCI is worried about logistical problems of the PCB’s proposed model. Concerns about broadcasting issues are front and center of the BCCI’s apprehension according to some reports.
Are Other Teams Backing Out of the Asia Cup 2023 in Pakistan?
Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and other teams have no issues with touring Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2023. The issue lies with India as their long-standing political rift with Pakistan continues to affect sporting relationships between both nations.
India has not been keen on agreeing to the hybrid model for some time now, dashing the hopes of a smooth tournament preparation.
An anonymous ACC official believes the key lies with ranking member Jay Shah:
“Now, the impasse hasn’t been broken and the final decision will only be taken at ACC executive board meeting that Jay will have to summon,“
Commentators believe Shah’s stance may be an indication that all ACC members need to put the PCB’s proposal to a vote. However, an ACC member has come out to debunk this rumour:
“There has to be a middle of the road solution as you can’t put this hybrid model to vote. I mean if there are six nations playing the event, what is the locus standi of the 19 other nations who won’t play the tournament? On what basis will they vote when they have no stake?“
Concerns over India’s unwillingness to finalize preparations with Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2023 is set to linger for some time. Only an ACC meeting with all stakeholders to form a consensus might be the deal-breaker.
What Caused the Rift Between BCCI and PCB Officials Currently Hindering Asia Cup 2023 Preparations?
Some events in the late 2000s sparked a long rift between the cricket governing bodies of India and Pakistan. One of the major dents on Pakistan’s image during that time saw no matches played for several years. However, Pakistan has been able to redeem its status as a reputable nation for cricket tours but hasn’t managed to convince India to visit just yet.
A terror attack in Mumbai, India in 2008 was one of the main reasons behind their long-standing rift. Terrorists crossing from Pakistan into India launched a deadly attack that claimed 160+ lives and wounded over 200 people.
During that time, Pakistan also experienced another dent on its image with a terror attack against the Sri Lanka team bus. Aftermaths of these attacks were not favourable to Pakistan’s image as a safe nation for touring teams.
Apart from friction between the BCCI and PCB, other far-reaching problems have developed between premier league competitions organized by both bodies. For example, players from Pakistan are ineligible to feature in Indian Premier League (IPL) games. No player with sole Pakistani nationality has ever feature in an IPL game since the league started in 2008.
International and regional bodies like the ICC and ACC are hopeful that both nations will end up resolving their differences soon enough.