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News

Decision on Asia Cup venue postponed to March 2023

Pakistan have the hosting rights as it stands, but the BCCI has said their team will be unable to travel there

ESPNcricinfo staff
04-Feb-2023 • Updated on 08-Aug-2023
Pakistan have the hosting rights for the 2023 Asia Cup  •  AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan have the hosting rights for the 2023 Asia Cup  •  AFP/Getty Images

A final decision on whether Pakistan will host the 2023 Asia Cup is now expected in March, after an Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting in Bahrain failed to reach a breakthrough. They will meet again in a month's time, around the next set of ICC meetings.
The uncertainty around the 2023 Asia Cup began in October when the ACC president, and BCCI secretary, Jay Shah said it will be held in a neutral venue because India can't travel to Pakistan.
The PCB took particular exception to that and ESPNCricinfo understands that on Saturday their chief Najam Sethi told Shah that if India don't play in Pakistan, Pakistan will consider not playing in India for the 2023 World Cup.
This has led to the deadlock which needs revisiting in March when the ICC and ACC meetings take place one after the other. The issues across tournaments, in the PCB's views, are the same, whether it is the Asia Cup, the 2023 World Cup or the 2025 Champions Trophy, to be staged in Pakistan. Depending on what happens in those March meetings - and the PCB is likely to go in again with the same stance - a decision may be left to the Pakistan government to take a call on.
In addition, all ACC members are believed to have been asked to seek their own government's positions on whether their teams could travel to Pakistan. *The PCB, however, clarified with a statement on Sunday, that "no such matters were raised in the meeting, nor did any member indicate any intention to seek government clearance for playing in Pakistan".
The PCB added: "Sri Lanka has recently visited Pakistan in 2017 and 2019, while Bangladesh has toured Pakistan in 2020. In the 2023-2027 Future Tours Programme (FTP), which has been agreed and announced by all ICC Members, Afghanistan Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have confirmed their tours to Pakistan."
After years of isolation following the 2009 attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore, Pakistan has returned to hosting international cricket regularly over the last three years, with nearly all full members (other than India) visiting the country for red- and white-ball cricket.
Pakistan-India ties have deteriorated over the years as a result of stormy political relations between the two countries. India and Pakistan have not played each other in a bilateral series since 2012-13, when Pakistan toured India for a limited-overs series. Their encounters have been limited to ICC and ACC events, and while the Indian men's team has not played any match in Pakistan since 2008, Pakistan last travelled to India for the 2016 T20 World Cup.
The PCB is intent in its stance of hosting the 2023 Asia Cup with Sethi saying in January, "whatever the stance is, it will be according to the interests of Pakistan."
The ACC executive board also approved the inclusion of teams from Japan and Indonesia in the ACC pathway tournaments and ratified ACC's calendar of activities for the financial years 2023 and 2024.
* The article was updated at 11.30am GMT on February 5 after the PCB issued its statement.