According to the latest reports of Forbes, cricket fans around the world might see star cricketers from India and Pakistan with the chances of the reboot of the Afro-Asia Cup in mid-2023. The political differences between the arch-rivals have spilled over into cricket, where the fans get to witness cricket’s most passionate rivalry only during ICC events. Pakistani cricketers aren’t allowed to take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as well.
The Asia Cup, which hasn’t been held since 2018, is set to be played annually – flipping between T20 and ODI formats – to make sure that the lucrative India and Pakistan contests become just a little bit more regular. Tapping back into the past is the planned revival of the Afro-Asia Cup – which was played in 2005 and 2007 before petering out due to political issues – can be rebranded rebrand by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) led by India’s governing body boss Jay Shah.
The updated version, played in the T20 format, is earmarked for June-July next year with discussions snowballing at April’s ICC board meeting between Shah, and other officials. There will also be discussed during next month’s Annual General Meeting of ICC, where the Afro-Asia Cup is likely to be officially ratified and a host potentially determined.
Describing the same, ACC head of commercial and events Prabhakaran Thanraj said, “We haven’t got confirmation from the boards yet. We are still working on the white paper and it will be submitted to both boards. But our plan is for the best players from India and Pakistan to be playing in the Asian XI. Once plans are finalized we will go into the market for sponsorship and a broadcaster.”
It will surely all add to a tightening of an already cramped cricket FTP, likely to be further squeezed with the expansion of the Indian Premier League (IPL), but the BCCI is invested in the bold ACC plans led by a determined Jay Shah, who is looming as a potential candidate for the ICC chair election later this year.
Elaborating the same, Thanraj said, “We have reactivated the whole Asian Cricket Council to see what we can do with this property. We also want to give confidence to the upcoming cricket nations and develop cricket broadly.”