Left with no choice after Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan abandoned their proposed “hybrid model”, Pakistan could withdraw from the AFC Asian Cup in September. According to the “hybrid model” proposed by the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Najam Sethi, Pakistan was to host 3 to 4 Asian Cup games in its country, and the rest of the matches involving India could be played on a neutral ground. . The idea was put forward after India refused to travel to Pakistan due to security concerns. However, it is now clear that Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have backed the BCCI’s move to move the tournament out of Pakistan.
“Now it is just a formality when members of the Asian Cricket Board’s executive board meet virtually, otherwise a proper meeting will be called later this month.
“But the PCB is now aware that Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan do not support their proposal for a hybrid model for the Asian Cup,” said a well-informed source with knowledge of developments.
The source said that Sethi had already contacted members of his cricket management committee as well as relevant government officials to discuss Pakistan’s position if they were unable to host any Asian Cup matches at home.
Sethi has repeatedly stated that if the tournament is moved to one neutral country from Pakistan, he will not take part in the competition, and a source said that on the PCB cards, he will go for a boycott of the Asian Cup.
“Pakistan has only two options. Hold the tournament on a neutral ground or refuse to participate, ”said a source at the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).
“In case Pakistan does not play, the tournament will still be called the Asian Cup, but the broadcaster will renegotiate the agreement in Pakistan’s absence.” Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and India have taken the position that hosting the Asian Cup in Pakistan and any other country is not logistically or financially possible and should be held in one country, i.e. Sri Lanka, because India cannot come to Pakistan.
The source also said there is a possibility that the Asian Cup could be canceled entirely this year and India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan could end up playing a 50-over multi-team tournament ahead of the World Cup.
“There is every chance that the Asian Cup may not take place this year, because without matches with Pakistan and India, the broadcasters are unlikely to offer the same amount that they offered the ACC with Pakistan,” the source said.
The source added that India is also gearing up for a home tournament with four or five countries in the window that will remain open if the Asian Cup does not take place.
What effect the decision of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan may have on the relationship between these councils remains to be seen.
Pakistan has already turned down an offer to host several ODI matches in Sri Lanka when it tours the country for a two-test series after the island nation offered to host all the Asian Cup matches.
The source said that recent events may force Pakistan to show its hand in its decision to send its team to India for the World Cup.
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