International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Greg Barclay and CEO Geoff Allardice arrived in Lahore on Wednesday to seek the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) commitment to the ODI World Cup later this year as well as a guarantee that it won’t push for a hybrid model for the showpiece event.
The top ICC brass decided to make the trip after PCB chairman Najam Sethi’s statement that they would not be sending a team to India for the World Cup if their neighbours did not visit Pakistan for the Asia Cup first.
Sethi, who replaced former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja in the role, has indicated that the Pakistan team could not travel to their neighbouring country without government clearance, and that the ICC would have to organise its matches at a neutral venue in case the Shahbaz Sharif-led government continued having security concerns.
“The ICC and World Cup hosts, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are concerned with the hybrid model being pushed by Najam Sethi who heads the cricket management committee of the PCB.
“Although the hybrid model has been suggested by Sethi for the Asia Cup which precedes the ICC event, the concern remains that once accepted for the regional event the PCB might also then ask the ICC to implement it for the World Cup when it comes to Pakistan playing in India,” a source was quoted as telling PTI.
The BCCI, meanwhile, continues to insist it will not send the Rohit Sharma-led Indian team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup which takes place ahead of the World Cup. It had initially pushed for its matches to be hosted at a neutral venue such as UAE or Sri Lanka, which was included in Sethi’s proposed “hybrid solution” for the tournament.
However, with the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh boards raising objections to the ideal of shuttling between two different nations in a short period of time, the BCCI is now said to be in favour of shifting the whole tournament to a different country, with Sri Lanka being the likely candidate.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah, meanwhile, has announced that the full schedule of the upcoming World Cup will be announced during the World Test Championship final that takes place at The Oval in London between 7 to 11 June.