ICC sources have termed the speculations about Pakistan playing their World Cup matches in Bangladesh as a "figment of imagination". This comes after reports about discussions during the recent ICC board meeting in Dubai surfaced. In the reports, it was stated that Pakistan will possibly play their ODI World Cup matches in Bangladesh instead of India.
"No one knows if PCB chief Najam Sethi has had any informal discussion with his Bangladeshi counterpart Najmul Hasan Papon but this can be said with a degree of certainty that no such discussions happened officially that Pakistan will play in Bangladesh," an ICC board source privy to the developments told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
The source did point out that procurement of visas was an issue.
"The BCCI has categorically said that there will be no problems with the procurement of visas. One of the main points for a host country is that all participating nations will be given visas on time. From ICC's part, Bangladesh is not even in its scheme of things as a co-host as of now," the source said.
"Suppose Pakistan reach the semifinals or win to play the finals, do they expect the matches to be played in Bangladesh? This is not a theatre of absurd happening," the board member added.
The source also said that this is pressure put by the PCB to host the entire Asia Cup in Pakistan.
"We understand that this is a kind of pressure tactic applied by PCB because of the Asia Cup issue. But let me tell you, ultimately, Asia Cup will also be played in UAE or Qatar and probably Pakistan will also have to play its matches in one of these countries," a BCCI source said.
The Asia Cup was scheduled in September this year but BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who is also the ACC chairman, announced in October 2022 that India will not travel to Pakistan. In the first formal meeting between BCCI secretary Jay Shah and PCB chairman Najam Sethi held in Bahrain on February 4, the discussion regarding the venue of Asia Cup 2023 took place but the final decision was withheld.
Sethi had raised questions on India's concerns regarding security in Pakistan as many teams are traveling to the country.
"I have kept my options open because when all teams are coming to Pakistan and have no issues with security. Then why is India worried about security? In the same way, we can also have security concerns over sending our team to India for the World Cup and I will be bringing this to the table at the coming meetings," Najam Sethi said in a press conference.
"As far as Pakistan playing its Asia Cup games in Pakistan is concerned, the budget for the tournament is passed by the Asian Cricket Council.
If ACC says that it's not a commercially viable proposition to hold Asia Cup in two countries, how can Pakistan play its games at home?
ACC, for all you know, might not pass the budget," a board source said.
(Inputs from PTI)