The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has made it clear that they do not have any problem with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) hosting the T20 Asia Cup, but the Men in Blue will not participate in the tournament if it is held in Pakistan.
It’s clear with this statement that the BCCI wants the tournament to take place at a neutral venue or the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) will have to go ahead with the competition without India participating.
In the few days, there’s been a lot of speculation regarding the venue for the Asia Cup, with reports emerging that Pakistan had invited Bangladesh to play in the country by promising them hosting rights for the Asia Cup in September.
However, PCB chief executive Wasim Khan has quashed all these claims and also went on to state that Pakistan will pull out of the 2021 T20 World Cup to be held in India if the BCCI does not send their team for the Asia Cup, before backtracking later and stating that his comments were blown out of proportion and taken out of context.
Now, a BCCI official has come out and stated that the Indian team will not play in Pakistan, thereby giving the tournament a miss. The official went on to add that if India are to participate in the Asia Cup, the multi-nation tournament has to be held at a neutral venue.
“The question isn’t about the PCB hosting the tournament. It is about the venue and as things stand now, it is quite clear that we would need a neutral venue. There is no way that an Indian team can visit Pakistan to even participate in a multi-nation event like the Asia Cup,” a BCCI official told news agency IANS.
“If the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is ok with an Asia Cup minus India then it is a different ball game. But if India is to participate in the Asia Cup, then the venue cannot be Pakistan,” the official said.
An India-Pakistan Asia Cup match at a neutral venue is not unprecedented.
“A neutral venue is always an option. BCCI did it in 2018,” the official pointed, with reference to the last edition of the tournament when the PCB had cited issues in obtaining the Indian visas for the players. The BCCI had then hosted the tournament in the UAE.
The BCCI will now be expecting the PCB and the ACC to do the same to ensure India’s participation in the tournament.