THERE is a “very actual chance” that Pakistan will boycott this yr’s World Cup in India in the event that they lose rights to host the Asia Cup, the chairman of the nation’s cricket board Najam Sethi mentioned.
Bilateral cricket has been a casualty of the soured political relations between India and Pakistan over the past decade and the neighbouring nations now play one another solely in multi-team occasions in impartial venues.
India, citing security considerations, have dominated out travelling to Pakistan for the Asia Cup in September and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has provided to allow them to play their matches within the United Arab Emirates in what has been dubbed a “hybrid mannequin”.
Whereas the Board of Management for Cricket in India (BCCI) has but to ship a proper response to the provide, Sethi mentioned India wished all the match moved out of Pakistan.
That would have critical ramifications for the 50-overs World Cup in India this yr in addition to the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan, he added.
“They need all of the matches in a impartial venue,” he mentioned in a Zoom interview.
“BCCI ought to take a very good, rational resolution in order that we don’t have any issues going ahead.
“India shouldn’t be taking a look at a state of affairs the place we find yourself boycotting the Asia Cup and likewise the World Cup, after which India finally ends up boycotting the Champions Trophy.
“That might be an enormous mess.”
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have additionally come out in opposition to enjoying within the UAE, citing the warmth and logistics points, heightening hypothesis in native media that the Asian Cricket Council might look to maneuver all the match out of Pakistan.
Sethi mentioned that was “not acceptable” and reaffirmed that Pakistan might boycott the World Cup if that occurred.
“That’s a really actual chance, after all,” he added.
Ought to India comply with the hybrid mannequin for the Asia Cup, Sethi mentioned, Pakistan would count on reciprocal phrases for his or her workforce on the World Cup in October and November.
“We even have safety considerations for our workforce in India,” he mentioned. “So let Pakistan play its matches in Dhaka or Mirpur, or UAE or in Sri Lanka.
“That is the answer going ahead, till such time that India agrees to play Pakistan, in Pakistan and out of doors Pakistan, bilaterally.”
BCCI Secretary Jay Shah was not instantly accessible for remark however neither the Indian board nor the Worldwide Cricket Council (ICC) have mentioned they’re even contemplating staging any World Cup matches outdoors India.
Sethi mentioned Pakistan, World Cup champions in 1992, was a prime cricketing nation which shouldn’t be ignored and that they must speak to the ICC in regards to the Asia Cup drawback.
“The ICC ought to step in however my sense is India wouldn’t just like the ICC to step in, particularly in the course of the Asia Cup,” he mentioned.
The ICC was not instantly accessible for remark.
Pakistan was starved of worldwide cricket after a 2009 assault on the Sri Lankan workforce bus in Lahore and needed to foyer arduous to persuade prime groups to renew touring the nation over the past couple of years.
“We labored so arduous to convey worldwide cricket again to Pakistan,” Sethi mentioned.
“Each main nation has toured Pakistan in the previous few years. You title them, they’ve all been there. All of them appreciated the safety preparations. That’s not an issue anymore.”
Citing the hype surrounding any assembly between India and Pakistan, Sethi blamed the BCCI’s “stubbornness” for failing to show it into the best rivalry in cricket.
“The India-Pakistan sport is the largest sport on the town. It’s greater than Australia v England, it’s greater than India v Australia. How can we jeopardise that by a stubbornness?” he mentioned.
“The Indian bridge workforce has been to Pakistan, the Indian kabaddi workforce has been to Pakistan, the Indian baseball workforce has been to Pakistan …
“So what’s occurring? Why can’t the Indian cricket workforce come to Pakistan?”