On Thursday, it was reported that the BCCI has agreed to a ‘hybrid’ model for Asia Cup this year, with India’s matches taking place at a neutral venue while Pakistan hosts the rest of the tournament. If the two nations qualify for the final, it would be played at a neutral venue as well. There have been various speculations over the continental tournament with strong responses from both nations over hosting issues.
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi also talked about the same during his stint at the Legends League Cricket Masters in Qatar. As per the quotes in Sports Yaari, he said, “As far as Pakistan’s security is concerned, international teams have visited us. Players are still there, they are enjoying it a lot.”
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He further added, “We also used to receive security threats from India, but whenever the boards and governments are on the same page, the tour was on. If they don’t, we are giving more leverage to those who want to spread hate, and those who don’t want cricket to take place between the two countries.”
Explaining the same, Shahid Afridi said, “I believe, I’ve said this many times, I’ve enjoyed cricket in 2 nations the most — Australia and India. The love I received in India, I never expected that. We want to play in India, they want to see us play. Even here, there are many Indians in the crowd, they meet us, take autographs. Cricket is the best diplomacy. I want, from my heart, that Pakistan and India should have good relations and grow their strength.”
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After the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting in Bahrain in mid-March ended without a resolution, members converged for two further rounds of informal discussions in Dubai. The BCCI team included Arun Dhumal, the head of the IPL governing council, and the BCCI secretary Jay Shah. The PCB, which will be hosting the 2023 Asia Cup, was represented by its chair Najam Sethi.