The 2023 Asia Cup continues to become a major headache for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after India’s constant refusal to travel to Pakistan to participate in the tournament.
Pakistan, the rightful hosts, and India’s cricketing board, the BCCI, continue to remain steadfast in their decisions of not budging from their stance which has yielded no solutions thus far despite repeated attempts.
An Asia Cup in Pakistan, a first since 2008, will be of great monetary value to PCB and the cricketing board is aware of it. BCCI, meanwhile, maintains that Indian players will not get clearance from the government of their country to travel to Pakistan.
The tournament will take place in September which is just 6 months away and PCB needs an answer soon to make adequate preparations for the competition.
So what can be the possible solutions which will leave allay the issue?
Solution no1 for Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan hosts all matches in the country except the ones including India
If India remains adamant about not coming to Pakistan and PCB remains uncompromising on hosting the tournament here, then a potential solution is for Pakistan to host matches of Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the sixth team here and move the games involving India to a neutral venue.
The problem with such a plan is that it will cost PCB a huge chunk of money with managing the logistics of six teams in two different countries which may not be feasible given the current economic state.
Solution No2: Pakistan hosts the Asia Cup at a neutral venue:
If diplomacy fails the next logical step is for Pakistan to move the Asia Cup to a neutral venue like Dubai which India does not have a problem with and retain their rights as the hosts.
Sri Lanka was the official host of the 2022 Asia Cup despite moving the competition to Dubai.
PCB may be reluctant to do that as it will deprive the locals of enthralling contests.
Solution No3: Pakistan gives up the hosting duties this year:
If all else fails and Pakistan maintains hosting the event locally then PCB may have to give up this year’s hosting duties to another country and wait for things to improve with India in the coming years.
This seems to be a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option for PCB but their hands may be tied.
Solution No4 for Asia Cup 2023: ACC and ICC get involved:
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) are reportedly already monitoring the situation and may need to step in to find an amicable solution if the logjam continues.
If India does not travel to Pakistan then Pakistan is considering a boycott of the 2023 ODI World Cup in India which is a bad look for ACC and ICC. The two bodies may need to bring the hammer down and resolve the issue despite upsetting one or both parties involved.
What solution will eventually be found remains to be seen but with the tournament getting ever-so-closer a swift answer will benefit everyone involved.