The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management committee Najam Sethi on Friday, stated that the national team will play two home matches in the upcoming Asia Cup 2023.
Najam Sethi addressed a press conference here at the PCB headquarters, alongside COO Salman Naseer and hinted at the possibility of Pakistan playing a Super 4s match at home. Notably, as per the schedule revealed by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), Pakistan was due to host the first four matches, more likely group-stage matches, while the rest of the event including the final was scheduled to be hosted in Sri Lanka.
If so, Pakistan would only be able to face Nepal in their own backyard in the Asia Cup since the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) had categorically denied touring the country for the multi-lateral event. However, Najam Sethi confirmed that Pakistan would play a minimum of two matches in their home ground before jokingly stating a word to wise is enough while replying to a reporter, who asked if Pakistan would only play one match at home against Nepal. “No, there would be two matches of Pakistan. Minimum two,” said Sethi.
The upcoming edition of the Asia Cup features six teams, divided into two groups, the top two teams from each group will then qualify for the Super 4s. Hosts Pakistan are placed in the same group as arch-rivals India and Nepal while the other group includes defending champions and joint-host Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The Asia Cup 2023 will be played in the ODI format and will serve as an opportunity for the Asian teams to bolster their preparations for the upcoming ICC Men’s World Cup. This year’s Asia Cup was originally scheduled to be hosted by Pakistan. However, the BCCI refused to send their team to Pakistan for the continental event on political grounds.
“Neutral venue for Asia Cup is not unprecedented and we have decided that we will not travel to Pakistan,” BCCI Secretary Jay Shah stated. “I have decided that we will play at a neutral venue,” he maintained. The BCCI then made several efforts to take the hosting rights from Pakistan and to hold Asia Cup at a neutral venue.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was determined not to give away the hosting rights of the tournament and thus the chairman of the PCB management committee Najam Sethi came up with a hybrid model.