Will Pakistan compete in the World Cup matches at an impartial site? Bangladesh has been mentioned as a viable option by officials within and close to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), but the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have rejected any such idea.
An ICC official quickly refuted reports from Pakistan that suggested the PCB was insisting on a neutral location for the World Cup games in exchange for its agreement to hold the India matches of the Asia Cup outside of Pakistan. The official insisted that World Cup preparations are proceeding at full speed. "At the Board meeting, there was no mention of Bangladesh, and the Board fully supported the event in India. Our attention is on that "a representative of the ICC informed Cricbuzz on Wednesday night.
When Cricbuzz independently checked with a few board members about whether the issue was discussed at the meeting, which was held in Dubai last week, they flatly denied having any such knowledge. "The board did not debate it. It might have been in a committee, but never in front of me "a participant who attended the meeting in Dubai on Monday, March 20, informed Cricbuzz. Nizamuddin, the CEO of BCB, further stated to Cricbuzz that he was unaware of any such events.
But, Pakistan's side appears to be asserting that these conversations took place informally in Dubai after the PCB, in theory, relented to host the India games of the Asia Cup in September at a neutral location in a hybrid arrangement with non-India games taking place in Pakistan. Oman, the UAE, and Sri Lanka have emerged as potential locations, albeit the location has not yet been decided.
In the meantime, the ICC and the BCCI both responded angrily when a general manager of the ICC openly floated the notion of holding the World Cup in a neutral location. Wasim Khan, the current general manager of the ICC and a former CEO of the PCB, told a Pakistani news site on Monday that a neutral venue is very likely for the event. "Pakistan won't likely play any of its games in India, in my opinion. Like India's Asia Cup matches, I believe their games would also be played at a neutral site."
The ICC, however, clarified that its general manager does not speak for the organization and distanced itself from his remarks. An even stronger response came from a BCCI official who questioned Khan's locus standi for making such remarks. Wasim Khan has no business discussing the neutral venue, and he should stop acting like the PCB CEO, according to a top BCCI official familiar with the situation.
The BCCI and ICC have yet to release the schedule for the World Cup, which is set to take place in October-November. The major India-Pakistan game has been rumored to take place in Delhi or Chennai, but nothing has been verified. According to rumors, the BCCI intends to hold the 48 games across 12 locations, with each hosting four games and the championship game taking place at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium. With negotiations still ongoing over the host city of the other semifinal, one semifinal match is all but guaranteed to take place at the Wankhede in Mumbai.
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