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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

Pitch laid for key face-off: Asia Cup participation to be discussed by Ashraf, Shah

Pakistan are awaiting their government’s nod for their tour of India

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 11.07.23, 06:37 AM
Jay Shah (left) and Zaka Ashraf (right)

Jay Shah (left) and Zaka Ashraf (right) File image

Zaka Ashraf, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman-designate, and BCCI secretary Jay Shah will come face to face for the first time during the chief executives’ committee (CEC) meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s annual session, which begins in Durban on Tuesday.

The Asia Cup — which is to be held in Pakistan and Sri Lanka through the hybrid model, a brainchild of Ashraf’s predecessor Najam Sethi — and Pakistan’s participation in the World Cup in India will come up for discussion between the two Boards on the sidelines of the meeting. Pakistan are awaiting their government’s nod for their tour of India and a high-level committee led by foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has been formed to look into the issue.

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As already reported in The Telegraph, Pakistan is likely to send a delegation to India next month or in September for a recce of their World Cup venues, including Ahmedabad where they are to play their group league match against India on October 15.

There have been calls in Pakistan to play their World Cup matches at a neutral venue in keeping with India’s stand of playing the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka but that is unlikely to happen since the PCB has signed the members’ participation agreement for the quadrennial showpiece event.

The 2025 Champions Trophy, scheduled in Pakistan, is also expected to be discussed and the PCB might demand an assurance from the BCCI on their participation.

Among other topics, the CEC will dwell on the mushrooming of the franchise-based T20 leagues around the world and the formulation of regulations to keep a leash on the players’ participation. Several Boards, including Cricket West Indies and the England and Wales Cricket Board, have expressed concern over players’ availability for bilateral series.

The ILT20 in the UAE and the Major League Cricket (MLC) in the US have attracted numerous international players and the ICC may be forced to regulate the number of players’ participation. An ICC working group has recommended that no more than four foreign players, including those retired from international cricket, should feature in playing XIs in T20 leagues.

The ILT20 allows nine international players, while the MLC permits six. Both these leagues have already received ICC approvals. It will be interesting to see the ICC’s stand on the issue. The BCCI has always opposed any ICC intervention in domestic competitions.

The proposed revenue-sharing model may also be addressed though the matter will be dealt directly by the ICC board. The BCCI is reported to receive 38.5 per cent of an annual projected ICC earning of US$600 million and the PCB has already made its displeasure known.

The Future Tours Programme post 2027 may also be discussed.

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