Najam Sethi never spoke to ICC about playing WC matches in Bangladesh: PCB

PTI, Mar 31, 2023, 3:45 PM IST

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday clarified that its chairman Najam Sethi never floated the idea at the ICC Board meeting about the national men’s team intending to play its World Cup matches in Bangladesh instead of India.

The PTI had on March 29 reported that ICC had declined that any such discussions happened at the ICC forum and Bangladesh is not even in contention to host any World Cup match as BCCI had assured that visa won’t be a problem for the Pakistan team.

The PCB clarified that the concept of a ”hybrid model” of tournament was strictly pertaining to Asia Cup since India will not travel to Pakistan.

”Referring to the media talk in Rawalpindi/Islamabad on Thursday, Mr Najam Sethi said he had briefed the media on the hybrid model he had presented to the ACC officials for the ACC Asia Cup to end the impasse that had been created following the BCCI’s decision to not send its team to Pakistan. ”This proposal – to play India’s matches at a neutral venue and the rest in Pakistan – is under discussions within the ACC,” a PCB media release stated.

Sethi said that he was misquoted by a section of the media.

”At no stage during Thursday’s media interaction, did I give any reference to the ICC or made any remarks on the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, which is scheduled in October. This matter has not been mooted or discussed at any ICC forum so far,” Sethi said in the press release.

The PTI on Wednesday had spoken to ICC sources who had mentioned that the matter was neither brought up nor even discussed informally and is a ”figment of imagination”.

The PCB through media release gave a rejoinder to one of its local english outlets.

”In this background, the PCB is disappointed that a leading English language newspaper has misquoted, misinterpreted and misrepresented Mr Sethi’s comments and gave the impression that PCB’s hybrid model was presented and discussed at the ICC, which is factually incorrect. ”At this stage, the PCB is only in discussions with the ACC over the hosting of the ACC Asia Cup and no discussions regarding the World Cup have taken place with the ICC.”

However to pacify the country’s media after a massive face loss, PCB in its press release did mention that the concept of ‘hybrid model’ could be discussed later but even the bigwigs know that any such recommendation will be rejected at the onset. ”This is not to say that the hybrid model will not be advocated at the proper ICC forum at the right time,” it stated in the end.

It must be mentioned that there is very little chance that ACC will pass the budget of Pakistan playing its Asia Cup matches at home instead of UAE or Qatar.

The only possibility will be that PCB will have to bear the entire costs, including logistics of the broadcasters in order to host matches in their country.

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