Pakistan could play their World Cup 2023 matches in Bangladesh
The idea has been discussed, with the hybrid Asia Cup model being looked at as a solution
Discussions have taken place that could see Pakistan playing its 2023 ODI World Cup matches in Bangladesh. India is the host for the tournament but given tense political relations between the two countries, the idea was discussed at the ICC meetings last week, with the hybrid Asia Cup model being looked at as a solution. Pakistan is hosting the Asia Cup but India will play their games at a neutral venue.
The idea came up on the sidelines of the board meetings in Dubai, where India's presence in the Asia Cup - and consequently Pakistan's at the World Cup - were points on the agendas of both members. It has only been mentioned as an option and no formal discussions have taken place on the matter, but the PCB has been keen to point out that India not playing in Pakistan in an Asia Cup has a potential impact on the ICC's Champions Trophy, due to be held in Pakistan in February 2025.
The Asian Cricket Council agreed in principle to look at a hybrid model that will allow the tournament to take place in Pakistan but for India's matches to be played at a neutral venue that is yet to be finalised. Options include the UAE, Oman, Sri Lanka or even England. The India-Pakistan games will be played at the neutral venue as well as the final should India reach it.
That solution, the PCB then proposed in informal discussions could be applied to the World Cup as well. The showpiece global event is scheduled to be played across ten venues in India from October 5. But the PCB has been saying for a while now that their participation - or the nature of their participation - in that event is dependent on what India decide with the Asia Cup. Bangladesh has been proposed as an option because of its proximity to India and that it will not present a difficult logistical hurdle to overcome.
Last year, the Asia Cup - postponed from 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic - was played in the UAE, though the hosting rights were with Sri Lanka. They had swapped those rights with Pakistan because of relations between India and Pakistan. The 2018 Asia Cup was also moved to the UAE from India for similar reasons.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent