The location of Asia Cup 2023 is still stuck in a deadlock. The BCCI consistently rejected the notion of sending their team to Pakistan for this year’s Asia Cup and consistently emphasized the importance of holding the entire tournament at a neutral location.
In an attempt to resolve the impasse, the PCB put forward a hybrid proposal, suggesting that the first four matches of the group stage during the initial phase of the tournament be held in Pakistan. However, the subsequent phase, including India’s matches and the finals, would take place at a neutral venue.
Under this arrangement, Pakistan would host their group stage match against Nepal, while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan would also play their respective pool matches in Pakistan. The PCB has identified Dubai as the preferred neutral venue within the proposed hybrid framework for the Asia Cup 2023.
Nevertheless, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have raised objections, expressing concerns about the difficulty of playing day-night matches in the UAE’s extreme heat during September. The PCB maintains its stance that both the Asia Cup 2023 and the IPL have previously been held in the UAE around the same time, under similar weather conditions, without any major issues.
Sethi has suggested England as a potential alternative venue for the Asia Cup 2023, while Sri Lanka Cricket is making efforts to secure the hosting rights for the tournament in their country. Following communication with a senior PCB official, it has been disclosed that a final decision on the venue for the Asia Cup is anticipated this week.
The hybrid model has garnered minimal objections thus far; however, there remains a stalemate concerning the selection of a neutral venue for the tournament’s second phase. Following the initial stage in Pakistan, the PCB intends to relocate the tournament to either the UAE or England.
Both countries boast a substantial Asian fan base, which would generate significant revenue for the event. However, India and other participating nations have expressed their preference for hosting their matches in Sri Lanka. The PCB is apprehensive about the potential decrease in gate revenue that may result from holding matches in Sri Lanka.
In recent developments, two high-ranking officials from the Emirates Cricket Board visited India with the aim of convincing the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to grant hosting rights for the second phase of the Asia Cup 2023 to the UAE. However, they have not yet received a positive response.
Ahead of the BCCI’s meeting on May 27, which will address matters regarding the 2023 World Cup and Asia Cup, representatives from the Sri Lanka Cricket and Bangladesh Cricket Board are scheduled to meet with BCCI officials. They have been extended invitations to attend the IPL final as part of the discussions.
As of now, the PCB has not received any formal invitation. Even if an invitation is extended, obtaining a visa at such short notice would not be feasible. The BCCI, on the other hand, appears to have accepted Pakistan’s recently proposed hybrid model for the Asia Cup 2023.
However, in exchange, the BCCI is seeking assurance from the PCB that they will send their team to India for the World Cup. The PCB has clarified that the participation of the Pakistan team is contingent upon receiving government permission.