PCB to explore options if Team India doesn’t play Champion Trophy in Pakistan

Islamabad, April 24 (IANS) The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) would look into options to respond to the BCCI — Board of Control of Cricket in India — if it officially refuses to send its team to Pakistan to play the ICC Champions Trophy, said a source in the PCB responding to a question about the recent report that neighbors might not travel to the country for the next year’s tournament.

“PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi has said it already that Pakistan is open to play a bilateral series with India at a neutral venue only if India agrees to participate in the ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan next year,” the PCB source told IANS.

“There is a clear and glaring contrast between the statement of Rohit Sharma and a corresponding BCCI source-based story. It clearly shows that if its about cricket, the players are willing and have no problem in playing each other at home grounds. But its the political leadership of India that always creates nuisance and blocks the way every time.”

They further reminded that Pakistan sent its team to India for the World Cup, highlighting Islamabad’s readiness to face the challenges and work towards revival of Indo-Pak cricket.

Pakistan is gearing up to host its first International cricket event since the 1996 World Cup. The Champions Trophy is an ICC (International Cricket Council) event and India expected refusal to send its team to Pakistan would not be an easy call to make.

However, the time and buildup to the ICC Champions Trophy may be used to discuss a hybrid model in which India-Pakistan matches may be shifted to neutral venues like Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

On Tuesday, sources in the BCCI told IANS that Team India may not travel to Pakistan for the ICC Champions Trophy next year, and the venue for the event will likely get shifted or a hybrid model used.

They also added that a bilateral series with the neighbours is “unlikely” in the near future.

India and Pakistan last played a bilateral limited-overs series in 2012-13, when Pakistan visited India.

Last year, India refused to send its team to play the Asia Cup in Pakistan and eventually, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) had to adopt a hybrid model for the event which was split with a vast majority of the matches being organised in Sri Lanka.

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