We understand BCCI’s position; hybrid model was the best solution: Najam Sethi

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi on Thursday said that he understands the position of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and added that the hybrid model was the most viable solution to host the upcoming Asia Cup 2023.

Sethi’s comments came just few hours after the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) announced that the 2023 Asia Cup will be hosted in a hybrid model i.e. by Pakistan and Sri Lanka from August 31 to September 17.

Intrestingly, it will be the first time since 2008 that matches of a major cricket tournament will be held in Pakistan. As per the ACC’s schedule, Pakistan will be hosting the first four matches of Asia Cup 2023, followed by Sri Lanka hosting the rest of the tournament.

“I am elated that our hybrid version for the ACC Asia Cup 2023 has been accepted. This means the PCB will remain as the event host and stage matches in Pakistan with Sri Lanka as the neutral venue, which was required due to the Indian cricket team’s inability to travel to Pakistan,” Sethi said in a statement.

”Our passionate fans would have loved to see the India cricket team in action in Pakistan for the first time in 15 years, but we understand the BCCI’s position. Like the PCB, the BCCI also requires government approval and clearance before crossing borders,” added he.

Notably, the ACC’s hybrid model of hosting the continental tournament came after India’s decision to not travel to Pakistan due to political tensions between the two countries.

“In this background, the hybrid model was the best solution and that’s precisely why I advocated for it so strongly. The acceptance of the hybrid model means the event will take place as originally planned, the ACC will stay together and united, and the great game of cricket will continue to thrive and move forward in what will be interesting and exciting times for the subcontinent cricket fans in the coming 20 months,” added Sethi.

As of now, the 2023 edition of the event, which will also be the 16th edition of the tournament, will feature two groups, with two teams from each group qualifying for the Super Four stage.

Later, the top two teams from the Super Four stage will then face off in the final.

“I now look forward to continuing our discussions and deliberations with the ACC and Sri Lanka Cricket to iron out a few minor operational and logistical details so that we can launch our event planning and preparations,” Sethi further said.

“I want to assure the ACC, its commercial partners, participating countries, and the cricket fans in Pakistan and Sri Lanka that the PCB, as event hosts, will not leave any stone unturned in the successful delivery of the event that is so very critical to the sides featuring in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in October/November in India,” he added.

Arch-rivals India and Pakistan have been grouped together alongside Nepal while defending champions Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are the sides featuring in the other group.

India had last won the continental tournament when it was held in the ODI format in the UAE in 2018.

“In the past 15 months, the PCB has delivered high-profile bilateral series as well as two immensely successful HBL Pakistan Super League events in which some of the world’s leading cricketers participated and enjoyed Pakistan’s outstanding arrangements and unprecedented hospitality.

We look forward to providing similar experience to the participating sides in the ACC Asia Cup, which will be a prelude to the ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan in February/March 2025,” said Sethi.

“I appreciate the efforts of ACC President Jay Shah to strengthen the council so that we can collectively continue to protect each other’s interests and also provide opportunities and platforms to emerging Asian nations,” he concluded.

News Desk

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