ICC top brass seeks PCB assurances that it will send team to India for ODI World Cup

Karachi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman and CEO are in Lahore to seek guarantees from the PCB that it will not push for implementing a hybrid model for its matches in the ODI World Cup in India later this year.

Insiders confirmed to PTI that ICC chairman Greg Barclay and CEO Geoff Allardice have specifically come to Lahore to get some assurances from the Pakistan Cricket Board on the national team’s participation in the World Cup in October-November.

The development comes after PCB chief Najam Sethi made it clear that the team will not travel for the World Cup in India if the Rohit Sharma led side doesn’t visit Pakistan for the preceding Asia Cup.

“The ICC and World Cup hosts, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are concerned with the hybrid model being pushed by Najam Sethi who heads the cricket management committee of the PCB.

“Although the hybrid model has been suggested by Sethi for the Asia Cup which precedes the ICC event, the concern remains that once accepted for the regional event the PCB might also then ask the ICC to implement it for the World Cup when it comes to Pakistan playing in India,” he explained.

Sethi has already indicated that if the Pakistan government doesn’t give clearance or has security concerns about sending the team to India, PCB could ask the ICC to hold Pakistan’s matches at a neutral venue.

“Naturally neither the ICC nor the BCCI want such a situation since Pakistan’s unequivocal participation in matches in India would guarantee the success of Indo-Pakistan matches and also the tournament itself.” Another source said this was the primary reason why BCCI secretary Jay Shah was still reluctant to accept the hybrid model for the Asia Cup and support having three or four matches of the tournament in Pakistan and the remaining games in UAE or Sri Lanka.

Pakistan are the hosts of the Asia Cup and Sethi has said repeatedly that if the tournament is moved to one neutral country from Pakistan, it will not take part in the competition.

He has also hinted that if Pakistan didn’t get to host some Asia Cup matches it could have an adverse bearing on the World Cup as well.

“The ICC officials are trying to work as a bridge between the PCB and BCCI and resolve the outstanding issues pertaining to the Asia Cup and World Cup.”