Will India Play the Asia Cup in Pakistan?

Asia Cup in Pakistan

You may have heard about the recent tension between the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Board of Cricket Control in India. The dispute is about the upcoming Asia Cup in Pakistan. The BCCI is reluctant to send its team to Pakistan, while PCB insists on it. So, what are the odds of team India visiting Pakistan? Or can the tournament be shifted to some other venue?

Read to the bottom to discover!

The Background

The two neighbouring countries first played each other in 1952. Pakistan toured India as the first bilateral series was held between the two nations. However, the increasing political conflicts resulted in bilateral cricket ties being cut off from 1962 to 1977. The 1965 and 1971 wars played a major role in this break. Later, the 1999 Kargil War also made a similar impact.

The 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks interrupted Indo-Pak cricket once again. Pakistan played the 2011 ODI World Cup in India. Then, they toured India for a white-ball series toward the end of 2012. But the Indian national cricket team has never played any cricket on Pakistani soil since 2008. Pakistan even featured in the 2016 T20 World Cup in India. However, there hasn’t been a single bilateral series between the two sides in the last 15 years.
Another important factor to consider here is that Pakistan hasn’t hosted any major cricket event since 2008. They hosted the Asia Cup that year, but none of the ICC or ACC events have been played in Pakistan after that. The reason behind that is the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan Cricket Team. This unfortunate incident prevented any International cricket in Pakistan for 7 years.

The sport slowly returned to Pakistan, and almost all the top teams have visited till now. But an Asia Cup or an ICC tournament is yet to be held in Pakistan. That’s why there was never any pressure on the BCCI to send their team. But now, Pakistan have secured the hosting rights of Asia Cup 2023 and ICC Champions Trophy 2025. Therefore, the issue of India not being willing to tour Pakistan has emerged again.

Asia Cup 2023 Schedule

The official schedule of this year’s Asia Cup is yet to be announced. But the tournament will be played in September. The tournament will be played in a 50-overs format as the ODI World Cup is scheduled in October and November.

What’s the Issue?

The problem started when the BCCI secretary and ACC President, Jay Shah, made a statement. He said India will not travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2023. He also stated that the event will be held at a neutral venue. He further added that PCB would have the hosting rights, but security reasons don’t allow this tournament to be played in Pakistan or India.

These remarks came as a surprise for PCB as well as cricket fans. Pakistan Cricket Board rejected the statement and said that the issue is yet to be discussed in the Asian Cricket Council. The board also threatened to boycott the 2023 ODI World Cup if India refused to come to Pakistan. Following this incident, talks have been initiated between the two boards to resolve this matter.

What Are the Options?

The Pakistan Cricket Board will try its level best to convince the Board of Cricket Control in India to send their team. If that happens, the Asia Cup will happen in Pakistan with all the teams participating. However, it’s least likely to happen. The BCCI will need approval from the Indian Government before sending their team. The Indian Government already has a clear stance that they don’t fancy cricketing relations between the two countries.

The second option for the BCCI is to boycott this year’s Asia Cup. In this case, the event will be held in Pakistan without India. This option is also highly unlikely to happen for two reasons. Firstly, the Asia Cup will lose its market value without Team India. Secondly, India has a stronghold in ACC, and taking this step isn’t required for them.

The third option is holding the event at a neutral venue. If the PCB agrees, the United Arab Emirates is likely to be the venue for the event. The BCCI will be eager to go for this option. But the PCB desperately wants to have the tournament in Pakistan. Therefore, the last option is to host the tournament in a hybrid mode. In this scenario, India will play its matches in a neutral venue. While all other teams will play in Pakistan.

Will India Come To Pakistan?

Probably not. It doesn’t seem possible at the moment. This year’s Asia Cup will either be played at a neutral venue or in a hybrid mode. So, the cricket fans in Pakistan will have to wait to witness the Indo-Pak clashes. But as far as the 2023 ODI World Cup is concerned, Pakistan will certainly travel to India to participate in it. Similarly, the Indian team will likely come to Pakistan for the 2025 Champions Trophy.

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