Asia Cup: PCB awaits Asian Cricket Council’s response on hybrid model

The Pakistan Cricket Board is awaiting a formal response from the Asian Cricket Council on its proposed ‘hybrid model’ for the men’s Asia Cup. The tournament, scheduled to be held in September, has run into rough waters with India refusing to travel to Pakistan and the latter refusing to relent from its stand of playing ‘at least four matches’ at home in a hybrid model.

While on Wednesday, there was a buzz on social media that a solution has been reached, PCB chairman Najam Sethi told  Sportstar that it’s still waiting to hear from ACC chief Jay Shah and also clarified that the “the road ahead is for Shah to be open to the hybrid model and then we could meet at a certain date to work out the modalities.”

On an average, an India vs Pakistan fixture generates about 80 per cent of the revenue of the Asia Cup. This time, with the PCB having the hosting rights, it has proposed two models – one, where India would play its matches at a neutral venue in the United Arab Emirates and all other matches would be played in Pakistan; two, at least four group league matches, featuring teams other than India, would take place in Pakistan while the rest of the matches, including the final, would be played at a neutral venue.

While the first model has been rejected, a formal decision is yet to be made on the second proposal but the ACC is looking to find a solution soon.

“I don’t want to have any deadlines because that looks like a threat. They know about the importance of time and we will wait to hear from them. Jay Shah has to decide on whether he is okay with the hybrid model. If he is not then I am afraid, (we can’t be in the) Asia Cup.”

Over the last few months, Shah and Sethi met thrice – in Bahrain and Dubai – and spoke at length about the possibilities of holding the tournament.

“My understanding was that there were apprehensions on whether the neutral venue would be in Dubai or not. I was reluctant to host it in Sri Lanka as being the host, the gate money should come to us. Dubai, on the other hand, would be houseful for the India vs Pakistan game and there’s also a good gate fee,” Sethi said.

“But the problem is, Dubai is 40 degrees at that time, so some people are saying it’s too hot.”

Reports have emerged that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had raised objections. Sethi, however, believes that weather shouldn’t be a deterrent.

“Suddenly it has become very hot! But it wasn’t hot when the IPL was being played around the same time! It wasn’t hot when Sri Lanka hosted the Asia Cup in Dubai! So, what’s the problem?” he said.

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