LAHORE: The visiting delegation from the International Cricket Council (ICC) comprising Chairman Greg Barclay and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Allardice Wednesday declared Pakistan a peaceful country for sports and expressed their satisfaction with the country's capability to host the 2025 Champions Trophy.
Furthermore, the ICC delegation hinted at playing a mediating role between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) while seeking assurance from Pakistan regarding their participation in the upcoming World Cup.
Barclay and Allardice were present in Lahore to obtain assurances from the PCB regarding the Pakistani team's involvement in the ICC Cricket World Cup scheduled for October-November. The ICC wants PCB not to insist on the implementation of a hybrid model for their matches in the World Cup.
PCB Chief Najam Sethi had stated that the Pakistan cricket team would refuse to travel to India if the Indian team did not visit Pakistan for the Asia Cup. The BCCI has expressed concerns that if the PCB's proposed hybrid model for the Asia Cup was accepted, the PCB might request the ICC to implement the same model for the ICC World Cup.
Sethi mentioned that if the Pakistani government did not approve the team's visit to India, the PCB would request the ICC to hold the matches at a neutral venue. Such a situation would be a significant setback for both the ICC and the BCCI, as an India-Pakistan match held in India attracts a packed stadium and is economically successful for the Indian board and the ICC alike.
In contrast, holding the match in any other country would not attract a large crowd, which is the primary reason why BCCI Secretary Jay Shah was hesitant to accept the hybrid model for the Asia Cup.
The PCB chief also stated that if the Asia Cup was relocated from Pakistan to a neutral country, the Pakistani team would not participate. However, reports indicate that despite the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) endorsing the hybrid model, the BCCI still shows reluctance, which could result in the Asia Cup being taken away from Pakistan.
The National Cricket Academy and Museum were among the places visited by ICC Chairman Greg Barclay and CEO Jeff Allardice during their visit.