In a major development, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) acting chairman Zaka Ashraf will push for their country’s matches at the ICC ODI World Cup, which will be held in India in October-November, to be played at a neutral venue. As per a report in PTI, the discussion on the same will take place at the ICC meetings in Durban this week.
“Zaka Ashraf will bring up the issue of why can’t Pakistan’s matches in the World Cup be played at neutral venues when the Indian team can’t travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup,” the minister in charge of sports in Pakistan, Ehsaan Mazari was quoted by PTI as saying.
The move comes as a rebuke to India’s demands for the Asia Cup, which was initially scheduled to be held in Pakistan. However, it has been proposed to be staged in a “hybrid model” with Pakistan and Sri Lanka jointly hosting the continental tournament. Although the official schedule of the Asia Cup is yet to be announced, it was reported that four matches will be held in Pakistan and nine will be played in Sri Lanka from August 31 to September 17.
The PCB has also informed the ICC and BCCI that Pakistan’s participation in World Cup is subject to government clearance. Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has formed a high-level committee to decide on the country’s participation in the showpiece event.
As per PTI, Ashraf and PCB chief operating officer Salman Taseer are in Durban, where they will discuss India’s stance of not sending its team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup due to security reasons.
“I want our World Cup matches at neutral venues if India doesn’t want to send its team to Pakistan for Asia Cup. If they have security problems in Pakistan according to the Indian board, then we can also question the security situation in India,” said Mazari.
Mazari is part of the high level committee, which will be headed by foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Mazari had raised similar concern a couple of days earlier
The marquee clash between India and Pakistan is scheduled to be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 15.
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