Amidst speculation of Pakistan playing their ICC World Cup 2023 matches in Bangladesh instead of in India, reports of which were cited by officials close to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have dismissed any such proposal.
ICC officials, on Wednesday, quashed the reports from Pakistan, which suggested the PCB's firmness on a neutral venue for the World Cup games as a quid pro quo for its agreement to play the India matches of the Asia Cup 2023 outside Pakistan, an ICC official said the preparations for the World Cup are in full steam.
“No one knows if PCB chief Mr. Najam Sethi has had any informal discussion with his Bangladeshi counterpart Najmul Hasan Papon but this can be said with a degree of certainty that no such discussions happened officially that Pakistan will play in Bangladesh,” an ICC board source told PTI.
“The BCCI has categorically said that there will be no problems with the procurement of visas. One of the main points for a host country is that all participating nations will be given visas on time. From ICC’s part, Bangladesh is not even in its scheme of things as a co-host as of now.
Suppose Pakistan reach the semi-finals or wins to play the finals, do they expect the matches to be played in Bangladesh? This is not a theatre of absurd happening,” the source added.
“I don’t think that Pakistan will play their matches in India”- Wasim Khan on ODI World Cup
The idea of a neutral venue for the World Cup was openly hinted at by ICC General Manager for Cricket and former PCB CEO Wasim Khan.
He told ARY News: "I don't know if it would take place here in a different country but a neutral venue is highly likely. I don't think that Pakistan will play their matches in India. I think their matches will also be held at a neutral venue just like India's Asia Cup matches."
However, the ICC distanced itself from its general manager's comments saying that he is not a representative of the ICC's stand. On the other hand, a BCCI official reacted more strongly questioning Khan's locus standi to make such comments.
"Wasim Khan has no business talking about the neutral venue, he should stop behaving like a PCB CEO," said a top BCCI official
The official also added that BCCI understands that there is considerable pressure from PCB on them to play all Asia Cup matches in Pakistan, something that is not feasible.
“We understand that this is a kind of pressure tactic applied by PCB because of the Asia Cup issue. But let me tell you, ultimately, Asia Cup will also be played in UAE or Qatar and probably Pakistan will also have to play its matches in one of these countries,” the source added.
The World Cup is scheduled for October-November but the BCCI and the ICC are yet to announce the schedule. BCCI is planning to host the 48 games in 12 cities with each getting four matches and the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad hosting the final.