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In the wake of the Asia Cup controversy, the ICC is looking for a guarantee from the PCB about participation in the ODI World Cup

World Cup

To obtain assurances from the PCB that it won’t advocate for the implementation of a hybrid format for its matches in the ODI World Cup in India later this year, the International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman and CEO are in Lahore. Insiders told PTI that Greg Barclay, the chairman of the ICC, and Geoff Allardice, the CEO, came to Lahore expressly to seek Pakistan Cricket Board assurances regarding the participation of the national squad in the World Cup in October-November.

The change occurred when PCB president Najam Sethi made it plain that the squad would not travel to India for the World Cup if the Rohit Sharma-led team did not visit Pakistan for the preceding Asia Cup. “The hybrid model promoted by Najam Sethi, who chairs the cricket management committee of the PCB, is of concern to the ICC and World Cup hosts, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Although Sethi proposed the hybrid format for the Asia Cup, which comes before the ICC event, there is still concern that should it approved for the regional competition, the PCB would subsequently urge the ICC to use it for the World Cup when Pakistan plays in India.

Sethi has before stated that the PCB may ask the ICC to hold Pakistan’s matches at a neutral site if the Pakistani government refuses to give permission or has security concerns about sending the team to India.

The success of the matches between India and Pakistan as well as the tournament as a whole would be guaranteed by Pakistan’s unqualified participation in games in India, so naturally neither the ICC nor the BCCI want such a situation. According to a different source, Jay Shah, the secretary of the BCCI, was still hesitant to endorse the hybrid Asia Cup concept and support having three or four of the tournament’s games played in Pakistan and the rest matches played in the UAE or Sri Lanka.

Pakistan is the host of the Asia Cup and Sethi has said repeatedly that if the tournament 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 about the Asia Cup and World Cup.”

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