Asia Cup fate to be decided during IPL final

Friday, 26 May 2023

NEW DELHI, May 25 (Agencies): The fate of this year's Asia Cup, which may determine Pakistan's participation in the World Cup in India, will be decided on the sidelines of Sunday's Indian Premier League (IPL) final in Ahmedabad, Asian Cricket Council (ACC) President Jay Shah said.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), host of the eight-team Asia Cup in September, has offered a "hybrid" model to stage some matches at a neutral venue after India refused to tour the country.
Owing to their soured political relations, bilateral cricket between India and Pakistan remains suspended and they play each other only in multi-team events.
Pakistan have threatened to boycott the World Cup in India in October-November should they be forced to stage the entire Asia Cup in another country, which could be the United Arab Emirates.
Shah said cricket chiefs from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan would attend the IPL final in Ahmedabad on Sunday, where a final decision would be taken.
"We will hold discussions with them for outlining the future course of action in relation to Asia Cup 2023," Shah, also the secretary of the powerful Indian board, said in a brief statement on Thursday.
He was not immediately available to elaborate when Reuters contacted him.
PCB chairman Najam Sethi was likely to join the meeting virtually, a source said.
A source in the ACC confirmed to The News from India that the Asian body has accepted the hybrid model proposed by Sethi in principle and without putting any extra conditions.
There was no condition set on Pakistan's participation in the October World Cup to be held in India, which still depends on the Pakistan government's approval.
The source said: "The ACC has accepted Najam's Sethi hybrid model proposal to host the Asia Cup allotted to Pakistan. According to this hybrid model, Pakistan will host four to six matches at the venue (within Pakistan) to be decided later while India will play its matches on a neutral venue.
"The ACC is expected to officially announce the decision within the next few weeks. According to Sethi's model, India's matches will be played on a neutral venue which will be decided by the ACC member countries with mutual coordination. However, even in deciding on a neutral venue, the financial aspect will be kept at the top."
The source explained that for instance India or other ACC member countries want Sri Lanka as a neutral venue, Pakistan as a host country will have the right to get a proper return of Pakistan-India matches (two or three).
"These must not be less than what India Board has earned by hosting the 2022 Asia Cup matches between the two countries. The amount is estimated as over half a million dollars from the two countries' matches.
"If the ACC assures that amount, the PCB will have no hesitation even to agree with Sri Lanka as a neutral venue for the rest of the matches," the source confirmed. The much-awaited response from the ACC, exclusively known to The News, is believed to be shared with all the Boards within the next few days.
"However, all the details will be finalised in the ACC meeting to be held shortly," the source said.