‘Eight out of eight’ teams will visit Pakistan for CT, says PCB chief Mohsin – Sport

KARACHI: Pakistan Cric­ket Board chairman Mohsin Naqvi is confident that “eight of out eight” teams will visit the country when it hosts the ICC Champions Trophy early next year.

Despite the PCB chief’s optimism, whether India will make a trip across the border for the tournament, stays a question mark nevertheless, given the country’s government’s reluctance to send its cricket team to Pakistan due to sour political relations with its neighbours.

While India and Pakistan haven’t played bilateral cricket since 2012, they play each other in International Cricket Council’s tournaments. And Pakistan even visited India to participate in the 50-over World Cup last year.

Mohsin, while interacting with reporters here at the National Bank Stadium on Tuesday night, suggested that the draft schedule of the Champions Trophy that the PCB has shared with the ICC recently, mentions India playing their matches of the tournament in Pakistan only.

If the suggestion has to be believed, it is clear the PCB is not considering a hybrid model, which would see India play their matches outside Pakistan while all other teams feature within the country only.

Such a model was adopted during the Asia Cup, which was hosted by Pakistan last year. But it saw only four matches being staged in Pakistan, while the remaining games, including the final, were played in Sri Lanka.

The Champions Trophy, however, is an ICC event and demands different protocols. Therefore, the ball is in the global cricket governing body’s court and it needs to come up with an amicable solution.

An ICC delegation visiting Pakistan in March, followed by the PCB sharing a draft schedule with it can be counted as positive developments for the board.

Pakistan missed out on hosting the 2009 Champions Trophy and co-hosting the 2011 ICC World Cup due to security reasons, but that situation won’t come into question in the current scenario with the country having hosted high profile teams like Australia, England and New Zealand for full-fledged tours in the last three years.

That the PCB’s security consultant and that of the ICC is the same, also consolidates Pakistan’s position.

However, recent unofficial media reports in India have suggested that the country will stick to its stance of not sending its team to Pakistan.

Mohsin was upbeat Pakistan would prepare venues in Lahore, Karachi and Rawal­pindi in time for the Champions Trophy, which is scheduled to be held in February next year.

The PCB chief said the board has contacted international companies which will turn National Bank Stadium, the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore and the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi into modernly designed arenas with enhanced viewing experience.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2024

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