Pakistan’s Asia Cup hybrid model likely to be accepted with Sri Lanka as neutral venue

Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan plays a shot during the Asia Cup T20 international cricket final match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on September 11, 2022. — AFP
  • Sources say Pakistan vs India games to be in Pallekele or Galle.
  • Pakistan to host only four matches under hybrid model. 
  • Pakistan also likely to travel to India for this year’s World Cup.

The Asian Cricket Council is likely to approve Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) hybrid model for Asia Cup 2023, with Sri Lanka as the neutral venue.

Under this mode of hybrid model Pakistan will be able to host only four matches of the upcoming tournament at home and the remaining matches will be played in Sri Lanka, Indian news agency Press Trust of India has reported.

“Oman Cricket board chief Pankaj Khimji, one of the respected ACC executive board members, was entrusted to find a solution as most countries didn’t want a hybrid model,” an ACC board member told the news agency on conditions of anonymity.

“But as of now four non-India games — Pakistan vs Nepal, Bangladesh vs Afghanistan, Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh — will be held at the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore.

“The two India vs Pakistan games and all other Super Four Games will be held in either Pallekele or Galle.”

The report added that the ACC could make a formal announcement in this regard on Tuesday.

The tournament is scheduled between September 1-17, with the Pakistan-leg games set to be held in Lahore.

After the approval of the hybrid model for the Asia Cup, Pakistan are also likely to travel to India for this year’s World Cup.

The Asia Cup in 2023 will be a 50-over event as it will be used to prepare for the ODI World Cup.

Pakistan, India and Nepal are in Group 1 of the Asia Cup, whereas Group 2 will feature defending champions Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super Four stage of the tournament, similar to last year’s format.

It must be noted that the hybrid model was proposed by the PCB after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) refused to send their team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.

India have not toured Pakistan since 2008 due to strained relations between the two countries.

The last bilateral series between the arch-rivals took place in 2012, when Pakistan toured India for limited-overs matches.

Over the past few years, the two countries have only faced each other in ICC and ACC events. 

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