Asia Cup 2023: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh reject PCB’s hybrid hosting model


PCB introduced “Hybrid” solution to host 2023 Asia Cup again to the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), believing that this time it has resolved the logistical and technical concerns raised by the ACC. Officials from both sides met in Dubai on Tuesday but it emerged that both Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have raised objections to holding a part of the tournament in the UAE.

The hybrid model was the solution that the PCB proposed for the fact that India would not be traveling to Pakistan for the tournament due to ongoing political tensions between the two countries’ governments. In the proposed solution, India would play all its games in the United Arab Emirates, with the rest of the tournament being played in Pakistan.

But ESPNcricinfo understands that the BCB and SLC cited the logistical challenges involved in traveling between Pakistan and another country during the Asia Cup, which is due to be played in September, a month before the ODI World Cup across India. Both the boards also pointed out that the extreme heat in UAE in the first half of September was also a deterrent.

“We have written to the ACC to say that we are against the hybrid model,” SLC secretary Mohan de Silva told ESPNcricinfo. “But beyond that, no final decision has been made. It is very hot in the UAE at that time of year.”

In what is becoming an increasingly contentious issue, a PCB official claimed that the board has emails from both BCB and SLC confirming they have no problem playing in Pakistan. The official also pointed out that last year’s Asia Cup was played in UAE from August 27 to September 11 – this time the boards are objecting to the same window. In 2018, the 50-over edition of the Asia Cup was also played in the UAE from 15–28 September. Both of those teams moved to the United Arab Emirates as substitutes; In the first instance the tournament was to be played in India, but was moved due to Indo-Pak political tensions; last year it was transferred from sri lanka Because at that time the country was going through political and economic turmoil.

One suggestion for the PCB is to follow the example of SLC, which retained the hosting rights for the 2022 edition but held it outside the country. This time, Sri Lanka has been talked about as a possible neutral venue and de Silva said that the SLC was ready. “If there is an offer to play the tournament in Sri Lanka, we will accept it. Pakistan will be the official host,” he said.

But the PCB is adamant that its solution should work for all. “The PCB introduced a hybrid model which solves the logistics and travel and production issues,” a PCB official told ESPNcricinfo. “The board reiterated its position that we will not play the Asia Cup if the Pakistan plus neutral venue model is rejected.”

India and Pakistan have been clubbed together with the qualifiers in the six-nation Asia Cup to be held in the 50-over format as a preparation for the World Cup. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are in the second group. A total of 13 matches including the final will be played over 13 days. As in the 2022 format, the top two teams from each group advance to the Super 4s and the top two teams then compete in the finals. This opens up the possibility of India and Pakistan playing three times, should both reach the final.

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