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Neutral Ground Showdown: PCB Proposes India-Pakistan Match at Asia Cup

By Rohit - March 24, 2023 - Last updated on Mar 24, 2023 01:19 AM
Neutral Ground Showdown: PCB Proposes India-Pakistan Match at Asia Cup

Image Source: Asia Cup Super 12 fixture. (AP)

During the recent Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting in Dubai, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) presented a proposal that would allow India to play against archrivals Pakistan and other teams at a neutral venue outside of Pakistan during the upcoming Asia Cup tournament. As hosts of the tournament, the PCB hopes that the proposal will be accepted and that the matches can be played in a safe and secure environment.

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Although the ACC president, Jay Shah, and the IPL chairman, Arun Dhumal, attended the meeting, no official decision has been made about the venues for India's games. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made it clear after last year's Annual General Body Meeting that the Indian team would not travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup due to the central government's refusal to provide clearance.

The proposal put forward by the PCB offers a potential solution to the longstanding issue of India-Pakistan cricket matches being played in a safe and secure environment. By hosting the games at a neutral venue, the two teams can still compete against each other while ensuring the safety of players and spectators. It remains to be seen whether the proposal will be accepted, but it could provide a glimmer of hope for cricket fans who are eagerly awaiting the next India-Pakistan showdown.

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“The proposal to play India games at a neutral venue (outside Pakistan) has been proposed by the Pakistan Cricket Board. They haven’t informed the BCCI about which the neutral venue will be. The ACC hasn’t taken any decision on it. It will be discussed during the next meeting. There are logistics and financial implications too. At the same time we don’t know whether the official broadcaster will agree to this move because they will need another crew in another country,” an official, who attended the meeting, said.

It remains uncertain whether teams other than Pakistan will be willing to play India at a different venue. This could pose a potential obstacle to the proposed solution by the PCB to host the Asia Cup games in a neutral location.

After the BCCI decided not to send the Indian team to Pakistan for the tournament, former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja threatened that Pakistan would not travel to India for the 50-over World Cup later this year.

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Current chairman Najam Sethi, before attending the ACC meeting, expressed a more conciliatory approach, recognizing the importance of considering the views of other ACC members and acknowledging the BCCI's influential position in world cricket.

The PCB's proposal aims to find a middle ground by playing matches not involving India in Pakistan and hosting India's matches against other teams in a neutral venue.

As India and Pakistan are in the same group for the Asia Cup, they could potentially face each other up to three times during the tournament.

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