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Pakistan once again says it will boycott the 2023 World Cup if the Indian team does not travel there for Asia Cup

PCB chief Najam Sethi said that the Pakistan government will be taking the final call on whether their team will travel to India for this year’s World Cup or not.

With India’s decision to not send its men’s cricket team for the Asia Cup 2023, Pakistan has stated that if India does not reconsider its stance, Pakistan will also boycott the 2023 World Cup to be held in India. Notably, on February 4 this year, India categorically told Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Najam Sethi that Indian Cricket Team cannot travel to Pakistan for Asia Cup 2023 which is scheduled to take place in Pakistan.

In a press conference on Monday (March 13), Najam Sethi stated that while India’s stance on not sending its team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup has not changed, the PCB is also firm that if India does not come to Pakistan for the continental event, the PCB will have to consider not playing the World Cup in India.

“I have kept my options open because when all teams are coming to Pakistan and have no issues with security. Then why is India worried about security? In the same way, we can also have security concerns over sending our team to India for the World Cup and I will be bringing this to the table at the coming meetings,” he said.

“We have complex issues on hand but for me when I go to the ACC and ICC meetings I have kept all options open for us and we have to take a clear position now,” Sethi said at a press conference, adding that he will raise these issues in the next Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and ICC meetings.

Najam Sethi added that the Pakstan government will be taking the final call on whether his team will travel to India for this year’s World Cup or not.

Controversy over the hosting right of the 2023 Asia Cup previously held by Pakistan

The Asia Cup 2023 was slated to be held in Pakistan, and there were uncertainties over whether the Indian cricket team would travel there to participate. Asian Cricket Council President and BCCI Secretary Jay Shah, in October last year, clarified that India will not be visiting its neighboring country for the Asia Cup. Instead, Jay Shah indicated that the Asia Cup 2023 will most likely take place at a neutral location.

“We will have Asia Cup 2023 at a neutral venue. It is the government which decides over the permission of the team visiting Pakistan so we won’t comment on that but for the 2023 Asia Cup, it’s decided that the tournament will be held at some neutral venue,” Jay Shah told reporters after the 91st Annual General Meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that was held on October 18th, 2022, in Mumbai.

“The venue for the 2025 Championship trophy is still to be decided, we will comment on that when it is decided. We are getting good earnings from our Media rights. Our motive is domestic players should get more benefits as our earnings are increasing,” he added.

In December 2022, ACC chairman Jay Shah released the itinerary of the continental body and the venue of the Asia Cup wasn’t mentioned. 

This led to PCB chief Najam Sethi accusing Shah of taking a “unilateral decision”, an allegation that ACC officially refuted stating that repeated emails to PCB seeking recommendations on the itinerary went unanswered.

PCB chief Najam Sethi recently threatened BCCI that Pakistan will pull out of the 2023 World Cup if Asia Cup is played at a neutral venue. PCB had asked for an emergency meeting to discuss Asia Cup hosting rights.

To put an end to the tussle, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) held an emergency meeting to discuss Asia Cup hosting rights in Bahrain on February 4, 2023, where Shah reiterated that there is no chance of the Asia Cup being held in Pakistan in September. BCCI has said that India can’t participate in the Asia Cup in Pakistan as the government of India has not permitted the Indian team to travel to Pakistan. Instead, UAE and Sri Lanka are two potential alternatives. A final decision on the venue will be taken in March.

Notably, India’s cricket team has not played any match in Pakistan since 2008. Pakistani team visited India for the last time for T20 World Cup 2016 that was held in India.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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