There has been a lot of back and forth in terms of finalizing venues for the upcoming Asia Cup 2023, with BCCI clearly stating that they wouldn’t travel to Pakistan for the tournament. While the PCB first protested against the decision, the administration led by Najam Sethi later decided to work in the direction of finding a middle ground.
In a latest press interaction, Sethi has stated that PCB have been instructed to host India’s Asia Cup matches in a neutral venue while adding that they wouldn’t be hell-bent on not traveling to India for the World Cup later this year. However, he added that with Pakistan agreeing to play Asia Cup matches in a neutral venue, India should do a “hybrid experiment” of playing their matches at a neutral venue. The statement came before the country's foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s trip to Goa for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council.
"We have been told that, maybe, the ice will keep on melting - if this happens when the Champions Trophy is held in Pakistan in 2025, India would consider playing in Pakistan," Sethi said at a press interaction. "We have been advised to play the Asia Cup at a neutral venue and also go to India for the World Cup." He didn't specify who the suggestion had come from.
"Our government has imposed no restrictions about playing against India. But I can say right now that the public mood is: we are not needy and we can stand on our own feet financially and we want to play cricket with India honourably. We are also negotiating with the ACC."
"We feel this hybrid experiment can also be applied when it is time for the World Cup," Sethi said. "Our stance is that everything should be on a reciprocal basis. In the old times, yes, there were security issues in Pakistan. But now there are no issues, so what is India's excuse for not playing in Pakistan?"
The decision regarding the scheduling of the Asia Cup came up in the ICC Annual General Meeting, but no conclusion was reached. With India maintaining its stance of not playing in Pakistan, other Asian countries have also stated their point of view that playing in Pakistan has become very expensive due to rising inflation and hence, the matches should be played somewhere else with Pakistan retaining the hosting rights.