Pakistan Threatens Withdrawal from 2023 World Cup in India if India Skips Cross-Border Travel for Asia Cup
In a major development, Pakistan’s Minister of Sports, Ehsan Masari, has issued a warning that Pakistan will withdraw from the 2023 World Cup in India if India refuses to travel across the border for the upcoming Asia Cup. Masari made this announcement, stressing that if India insists on playing their Asia Cup matches at neutral venues, Pakistan will demand the same treatment during the World Cup matches hosted in India.
This statement came shortly after Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, formed a high-level committee to investigate Pakistan’s participation in the World Cup scheduled for October-November, which will be hosted by India. Masari further mentioned that this committee will be led by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in which he himself will participate along with eleven other ministers. The committee aims to discuss the matter thoroughly and provide recommendations to the Prime Minister, who is also the sponsor of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), before a final decision is made.
According to Shehbaz Mazari, the head of the Inter-Provincial Coordination Ministry, the committee, led by Bilawal Bhutto, is expected to present its report to the Prime Minister next week. This coincides with an important meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) taking place in South Africa, which will be attended by the recently appointed PCB chief, Zaka Ashraf, along with Jai Shah, the Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and head of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). This meeting is anticipated to address both the Asia Cup and the World Cup.
Although the schedule for the Asia Cup has not yet been finalized, reliable sources suggest that the Asian Cricket Council is inclined towards Pakistan and Sri Lanka jointly hosting the event. Furthermore, it is speculated that India will play all their matches in Sri Lanka. However, Shehbaz Mazari expressed his disapproval of this “hybrid model,” asserting that Pakistan, as the host, deserves the right to hold all matches within its borders. Emphasizing the sentiments of cricket fans, he stated, “I don’t want a hybrid model.”
Expressing surprise at India’s reluctance to play cricket in Pakistan, Minister Masari criticized the Indian government for bringing sports into the realm of politics. Masari mentioned an incident where a prominent Indian baseball team visited Islamabad, as well as a bridge team that traveled to Pakistan, demonstrating that sports events between the two nations are possible. He expressed his disappointment, stating, “I don’t understand why the Indian government doesn’t send their cricket team here.” Acknowledging that Pakistan’s football, hockey, and chess teams have traveled to India in the past, he called for fair reciprocity in events of this nature.
It remains to be seen how both countries will maneuver through these current challenges surrounding cricket events, as diplomatic negotiations and decision-making processes unfold. The global cricketing community eagerly awaits updates on the participation of all teams in both the Asia Cup and the 2023 World Cup.
Pakistan’s sports minister says his country will withdraw from the 2023 World Cup in India if India skips cross-border travel for the Asia Cup
Pakistan’s Sports Minister Ehsan Masari has said that if India avoids traveling across the border for the Asia Cup, his country will withdraw from the 2023 World Cup in India. “The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is under my ministry and if India insists on playing their Asia Cup matches at neutral venues, we will also demand the same when the World Cup matches are held in India,” he told The Indian Express. .
The statement came shortly after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif set up a high-level committee on the country’s participation in the October-November World Cup to be hosted by India. Ehsan Mazari said that the committee will be headed by Foreign Minister Billawal Bhutto Zardari and I am included among the 11 ministers. We will discuss the matter and give our recommendations to the First Minister who is also the sponsor of the PCB. The Prime Minister will make the final decision.
The committee headed by Billawal Bhutto is likely to share its report with the prime minister sometime next week, said Shehbaz Mazari, head of the Inter-Provincial Coordination Ministry. This is also the time when new PCB chief Zaka Ashraf attends an important meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in South Africa. As BCCI secretary Jai Shah, who is also the head of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), will attend the meeting in Durban, the Asia Cup and the World Cup are expected to be discussed.
Although the Asia Cup schedule is yet to be released, it is learned that there is a general consensus within the ACC that Pakistan and Sri Lanka will jointly host the event. India are expected to play all their matches in Sri Lanka. However, Shehbaz Mazari said that he is not in favor of this ‘hybrid model’. “Pakistan is the host and they have the right to play all the matches in Pakistan. That’s what cricket fans want, I don’t want a hybrid model,” he said.
The minister said he was surprised by India’s reluctance to play cricket in Pakistan. ‘India brings sport to politics. I don’t understand why the Indian government doesn’t send their cricket team here. Some time ago a big baseball team from India came to Islamabad to play. There was also a bridge team that traveled to Pakistan. There were about 60+ people and I was the main guest of the event. They win here. Pakistan’s football, hockey and chess teams also travel to India,” he said. Read more