If India Doesn’t Come To Pak, We’ll Not Go To India For WC: PCB Chief

PROVO- Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi on Friday made it clear that Pakistan will travel to India for the ODI World Cup only if the Rohit Sharma-led team is allowed to play the upcoming Asia Cup and the 2025 Champions Trophy in his country.

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) recently rejected the ”hybrid model”, which the former journalist feels is the only feasible solution until India and Pakistan start playing each other in their respective nations.

Sethi also said that if India comes to Pakistan, their national team will have no issues playing in any Indian city, including Ahmedabad.

Excepts from an exclusive interview with the PTI:

Q: What is the status of Asia Cup and what is ACC’s reaction to your proposed Hybrid Model?

A: In the current scenario, we have made it clear that let’s play four matches in Pakistan and we will play the rest of the games at neutral venue which we can mutually agree upon. The Asian Cricket Council can take two decisions. Either they can say ‘Okay, let’s go ahead and issue the schedule’ according to my proposal or they can say ‘No, we want to play all the matches at neutral venue’.

If they take the first position, everything will be sorted out and we will get cracking. If they take the second position, then I am afraid we won’t participate in Asia Cup. That is the current position. We are waiting for response from Mr Jay Shah and other colleagues.

Q: Does it make sense for Pakistan to stay in ACC if they don’t play Asia Cup?

A: That is for Asian Cricket Council to consider. The next turn for Asian Cricket Council presidency belongs to PCB. That’s our turn. So we are very keen to stay in Asian Cricket Council. Let me go beyond that. There can’t be any ACC without Pakistan. The two most important members who bring revenue to ACC are India and Pakistan. It’s their matches that bring 80 percent of the broadcast rights. If Pakistan doesn’t play Asia Cup, then the broadcaster, that is Star, is going to have problems.

The 45 or 46 million dollars that are supposed to come for the series (Asia Cup) is mostly going to come from these matches and the way Asia Cup is structured, Pakistan and India play two matches minimum and if they qualify for final, there is a third match.

That’s why India and Pakistan are both critical to the cup and to the council. Therefore it must be mentioned that in Bahrain at last ACC meeting, I had presented the hybrid model to save the Asia Cup as India had refused to play in Pakistan, which is the host country, that’s where the problem arose. I had said, one solution is I will find neutral venue for India games.

The BCB president had then said, option of Pakistan not playing Asia Cup is ruled out. If India comes to Pakistan, the crowds will be hospitable but if India doesn’t come and gives no rational reason for not coming to Pakistan, when the whole world is coming to Pakistan, then this is the solution I have in mind. We will play India at a neutral venue but rest of the countries must come and play their matches in Pakistan.

We have gone so far to say play only four games in Pakistan and play rest of the games in the neutral venue. So we have given solution for not just one issue but also for World Cup and Champions Trophy (in Pakistan in 2025). Because if we don’t go to India and play there’s going to be a problem. And if India doesn’t come to Pakistan for Champions Trophy (2025), then there’s problem.

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