PCB officials to meet ACC members

Abdul Mohi Shah
Saturday, Mar 18, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Representatives of the Asia Cup hosts Pakistan and officials of the member countries of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) will hold a series of meetings that will begin from today (Saturday) in Dubai to prepare the groundwork for the expected meetings of the bigwigs later in the week.

The PCB officials including Chief Operating Officer (COO) Slaman Naseer and Faisal Hasnain have already left for Dubai to prepare the groundwork for the most important week for Pakistan cricket in recent times.

‘The News has’ has learnt that so far there has been no change in stance of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for not crossing over the border to play Asia Cup matches, rather the BCCI is interested in taking the Asia Cup to the UAE.

Pakistan’s point of view, backed by all the neutral elements including some ICC member countries, remains the same.

The PCB high-ups think that hosting Asia Cup is genuine right of Pakistan after successful return of international cricket to the country and overwhelming success of PSL VIII.

The other strongest point supporting Pakistan’s stance is the 30-member Indian baseball squad’s recent visit to Pakistan where they stayed in Islamabad for over ten days and enjoyed their trip to the fullest. That baseball squad was provided with the normal security, yet they enjoyed their outing to the fullest.

Indian Baseball authorities have also signed an MoU with the Pakistan Baseball Federation to play bilateral series. That is not all, Indian tennis players keep on crossing border to figure in the ITF Juniors and other international events.

Last year golfers and kabaddi teams were here. Why cricket has been singled out? The obvious reason might be the Indian government’s endeavor to gain political mileage out of cricket engagements.

It is believed that PCB officials' meetings with ACC member countries’ reps ahead of the ICC Board meeting are efforts to prepare the groundwork, a sort of lobbying for the coming meetings.

A well-informed source has also told ‘The News’ that all depends on the outcome of these meetings. “Preparing groundwork and getting positive wipes from the BCCI officials is more important, otherwise there is no use to hold an ACC meeting. What the PCB wants is an understanding of the issues confronting Asian countries. The ACC's prime objective is to protect the interest of all the member countries. ACC’s charter is not meant to protect Indian cricket interests only, so the ACC member countries are required to understand the urgency of the matter. Hosting Asia Cup in Pakistan under the present circumstances is important for Asian cricket interests.”

When asked whether there was any proposal that would allow India to play their matches in the UAE while the rest of the Asia Cup teams will travel to Pakistan, the source said.

“If that is the case, then Pakistan will be having a genuine reason to play its World Cup matches in the UAE including their knock-out matches. Everything would be on a reciprocal basis as such an act would set a wrong tradition.”

PCB Management Committee chairman Najam Sethi will be leaving tomorrow (Sunday) to attend the ICC meeting on Monday.