PCB wants Champions Trophy 2025 assurance from BCCI

Written by Mohan Sharma

Newly appointed PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi would be eyeing an assurance from BCCI secretary Jay Shah on India’s participation in next year’s Champions Trophy in Pakistan during next week’s ICC Meeting in Dubai but is unlikely to make headway as of now.

The ICC Executive board will meet in Dubai next week and Naqvi plans to speak to the global body’s brass as well as Indian board’s top boss Shah on the sidelines but for a tournament scheduled in February-March of 2025, there is no way that Indian board will right away make any commitments of travelling to Pakistan with nearly one year left. While Champions Trophy is an ICC tournament and with every other cricketing nation travelling to Pakistan, the BCCI will not entirely close its door but any clearance from the government of India will not come at least weeks before the tournament commences.

“The biggest worry for the PCB is whether India will send its team to Pakistan and there is no repeat of last year’s Asia Cup issues,” a PCB source said, citing the ‘Hybrid Model’ that was used last year. Last year, PCB was forced to agree to a sharing formula under which it hosted four games of the Asia Cup and the rest were held in Sri Lanka since the BCCI made it clear that it cannot send its team to Pakistan because of non-clearance from its government.

“This is an ICC event and Pakistan went last year to India for the World Cup. Naqvi will try to convince the ICC and BCCI that they need to confirm that India will be coming to Pakistan as early as possible as it will help promote the CT for them,” the source added.

“Naqvi will try to assure the BCCI representatives that with elections (in Pakistan) completed and a new government in place, there will be no security or other concerns for them to play in Pakistan.” The last time India toured Pakistan was back in 2008 when it played in the Asia Cup and since Pakistan has thrice been to India for the ICC World Cup events in 2011 (ODI World Cup), 2016 (T20 World Cup) and 2023 (ODI World Cup).

The source said Naqvi will also brief the ICC board about the upgradation of stadiums in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi and the Pakistan government’s stance on India playing in Pakistan.

When a BCCI source was asked, he gave a standard reply.

“Playing in Pakistan is something that only Indian government can decide and BCCI will have to follow the government diktat. Also it is too early to even ask for government’s permission and if their new chairman is expecting some kind of assurance in March 2024 for a tournament in Feb-March 2025, he is mistaken,” the BCCI source said. PTI CORR KHS KHS KHS

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Mohan Sharma