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Asia Cup 2023

Everything you need to know about the drama over the Asia Cup hybrid model

Asia Cup hybrid model drama
by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

Incoming PCB Chairman, Zaka Ashraf, has rejected the hybrid model for the 2023 Asia Cup, potentially opening up discussions around where the tournament will be played once again. Here’s all you need to know about the unfolding drama.

The Asian Cricket Council has accepted the hybrid model proposal set forward by Najam Sethi, the chair of PCB’s interim management committee. According to the model, Pakistan’s games except those against India will be played in Pakistan, while Sri Lanka will host the remaining games.

After a long tussle between the PCB and BCCI regarding the scheduling of the tournament, the ACC finally made an announcement on June 15, confirming the acceptance of the hybrid model. It said that the 2023 Asia Cup will be played between August 31 and September 17 across Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with the detailed schedule yet to be announced.


However, Ashraf, who is set to take over from Sethi as the next PCB Chairman, has sparked controversy by “rejecting” the hybrid model when he spoke to the media on Wednesday (June 21).

What has Zaka Ashraf, the incoming PCB Chairman, said?

In a media interaction on Wednesday (June 21), Ashraf said that the hybrid model is not beneficial for Pakistan and that he has “rejected” it.

“The first point is that I had rejected the hybrid model in the past itself because I do not agree with it. The board of the Asian Cricket Council had decided that it (Asia Cup) should be held in Pakistan, then we should host it,” Ashraf said.

Ashraf is not happy with Pakistan not being able to host bigger games of the Asia Cup. “All the main matches are happening outside. Nepal and Bhutan are going to play in Pakistan, which is not fair for Pakistan,” he added.

What does this mean for the Asia Cup and World Cup?

If Ashraf follows through with his rejection of the hybrid model once he officially becomes the PCB Chairman, it could lead to severe repercussions going forward.

Earlier, Pakistan had threatened to boycott the World Cup if India didn’t travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup. Former Pakistan cricketer Javed Miandad was recently quoted saying, “They (India) can get lost if they don’t want to come here.”

The hybrid model was proposed as a form of compromise between PCB and BCCI after the latter refused to travel to Pakistan given the strained political relations between the two nations.

Ashraf’s stance can potentially bring things back to square one, with PCB refusing to host any Asia Cup matches outside of Pakistan and India being unwilling to travel there.

This could lead to the Asia Cup being played without Pakistan as a five-team tournament, which could in turn force PCB to pull out of the ODI World Cup as well which is scheduled to be held in India later this year.

How has the Asian Cricket Council responded?

An ACC board member has emphatically dismissed Ashraf’s comments.

Speaking to the Press Trust of India, the unnamed board member said, “The Asia Cup model has been accepted by ACC and there would be no change. Ashraf is free to say whatever he wants.”

Is there any saving grace?

After his explosive press conference on Wednesday (June 21) where he “rejected” the hybrid model, Ashraf has reportedly made somewhat of a U-turn from his previous comments. According to ESPNCricinfo, Ashraf has said that he “will not block” the decision that has been made.

“In my personal opinion, this whole hybrid model isn’t beneficial for Pakistan and I didn’t like it. Being a host, Pakistan should have negotiated better to make sure that the entire tournament should have played in Pakistan. Sri Lanka taking the bigger lot of games, leaving Pakistan with only four games, isn’t in the best interest of our country,” he told ESPNCricinfo.

“But I see the decision has been made, so we have to go with it. I will not block or have any intention not to comply with the decision. I cannot do much about it but to honour the commitment. But going forward, every decision we make will be made for and in the interest of the country.”

Ashraf has not yet officially taken over as the PCB Chairman and all these comments have come in a personal capacity. While his latest stance is that he won’t jeopardize any decision that has already been taken, it’s hard to say with any certainty that there won’t be any more U-turns once he formally assumes office.

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