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India won’t play Asia Cup in Pakistan: BCCI’s tough response

India's central cricket board, BCCI, has refused to participate in the upcoming T20 Asia Cup 2020 if Pakistan is set as the venue. The organisation said it is not possible for Indian cricket players to travel to Pakistan given political tensions, therefore Pakistan should consider hosting the tournament in a neutral venue.

Asia Cup

India’s central cricket board, BCCI, has refused to participate in the upcoming T20 Asia Cup 2020 if Pakistan is the venue. A BCCI official said they have no issue with Pakistan hosting the 2020 edition of Asia Cup, but the Indian team cannot travel to Pakistan at this moment given circumstances.

They believe, Pakistan should host the Asia Cup 2020 at a neutral venue like Dubai. The row between the cricketing boards of India and Pakistan developed after Wasim Akram, Chief Executive Pakistan, warned that if India does not agree to play Asia Cup in Pakistan then they will boycott next year’s T20 World Cup scheduled to take place in India.

“The question isn’t about the PCB hosting the tournament. It is about the venue and as things stand now, it is quite clear that we would need a neutral venue. There is no way that an Indian team can visit Pakistan to even participate in a multi-nation event like the Asia Cup.”

“If the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is ok with an Asia Cup minus India then it is a different ball game. But if India is to participate in the Asia Cup, then the venue cannot be Pakistan,” the official of BCCI was quoted as saying.

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BCCI added that India moved the venue for the event to Dubai in 2018 amidst political tensions between the two countries as it would have been problematic for Pakistani players to obtain an Indian visa. Therefore, saying that PCB should also consider shifting the venue.

International cricket has resumed in Pakistan following Sri Lankan cricket team’s visit to the country later last year and the Bangladeshi cricket team is currently on a tour of Pakistan. Bangladesh has played three matches, T20 series in Lahore and is set to play ODI series from Feb 7 to Feb 11 in Rawalpindi.

For years, India has been refusing to restore bilateral ties with Pakistan citing security concerns. Now, BCCI cites political tensions to avoid the Indian cricket team from visiting Pakistan.

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Besides the Bangladesh and Sri Lankan teams, the Marylebone Cricket Club of Lords, headed by former Sri Lanka player Kumara Sangakara, along with England cricket stars are set to visit Pakistan next month. The cricket club team will play a series of matches in Pakistan, informed British High Commissioner, Christian Turner in Hamid Mir’s talk show last night.

With so much progress, and international cricket fraternity expressing confidence in Pakistan, is it time for India to look beyond politics and resume cricketing ties between the nations or should Pakistan concede and hold the tournament in a neutral venue?

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