Hybrid model for Asia Cup and beyond could end Pakistan-India ‘logjam’, says PCB
The hybrid model is the brainchild of Najam Sethi, who heads the PCB management committee. File | Photo Credit: AP
The Pakistan Cricket Board is still hopeful that India agrees to its hybrid model of hosting most of the Asia Cup games at a neutral venue in September.
The hybrid model is the brainchild of Najam Sethi, who heads the PCB management committee.
Sethi met members of the Asian Cricket Council in the United Arab Emirates this week to work out a solution after India said it would not travel to Pakistan for the event due to political tensions between the two countries.
Pakistan, India, qualifiers Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are the six countries to compete in the Asia Cup which is seen as a major tune-up for the teams due to participation in the World Cup in India.
“Until India is ready to play Pakistan on both sides and with Pakistan, let’s have a hybrid solution,” Sethi said.
Sethi’s proposed model to end the impasse would mean that India could play Pakistan at a neutral venue in major tournaments like the Champions Trophy and even the World Cup, while the rest of the matches are played in the host nation. as scheduled.
After India hosts the World Cup later this year, Pakistan is due to host the Champions Trophy in 2025.
Sethi believes that the hybrid model can work in both big events as he may face a similar situation if the Pakistan government asks him not to send the national team to the World Cup in October-November.
“I am worried not only about the Asia Cup but also about the World Cup and the Champions Trophy,” Sethi said. “The World Cup is in India … my government can turn to me and say we have security issues there, you don’t go.
“And then the Champions Trophy following the World Cup, which we’re hosting. India can turn around and say the same thing. We’re not going to play in Pakistan and ask the ICC to move the venue … it won’t work. The I suggest is the way out of this logjam.”
Sethi has reportedly even suggested that Pakistan will host only four games of the Asia Cup while the remaining 13 games could be staged at a neutral venue most likely in the UAE. He is even ready to host the final at a neutral venue even if Pakistan qualifies for it against India or any other country.
Sethi said he wanted an amicable solution for the Asia Cup that could pave the way for the two countries to compete against each other in other major tournaments at a neutral venue.
“I am not threatening anyone, give me a break,” Sethi said. “I am trying to be positive and find a way out of this problem. I could have easily said that if India does not come and play in Pakistan, we will not play in India, but I tried to find a hybrid model.
Sethi hopes that ACC president Jay Shah, who is also the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, can take the first step and accept Pakistan’s hybrid model for the Asia Cup and keep all Asian countries united .
“I think Jay (Shah) is a young man, he aspires to be the head of the ICC,” Sethi said. “My advice to my young friend is that if you want to be a leader, you have to keep the herd together, keep the herd together.
“Don’t say that when you were in the ACC chair, the ACC went broke.”
Sethi said PCB has always been ahead and helpful to other Asian countries. Pakistan recently played a three-match T20 series against Afghanistan in the UAE after Australia refused to host them.
“When the Australians stopped their fights in Afghanistan we said we’ll come in and bail you out so you can get money from these fights,” he said.
“We are excited to support the members that will lead to some kind of problem … now we don’t have any issues and others don’t have any issues with us. Only India.”