After a long hiatus of over two decades, Pakistan will finally host a global event. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) bagged the rights of the Champions Trophy, set to be played in 2025. Pakistan was deprived of hosting matches in the country after the deadly attack on the Sri Lanka team in 2009. However, of late they have managed to host a few countries. Their reputation as a safe host took a beating when New Zealand and England cancelled their tours citing security issues but they did well to convince West Indies, England and Australia to come and play in Pakistan. West Indies will visit the country in December, while Australia and England will tour the country in 2022.
However, one team that might have issues playing in Pakistan is India. There are more than one reasons for India to deny playing in Pakistan. The two countries don’t share a great political relationship and it will be very difficult for the BCCI to seek permission for playing in Pakistan. India sports minister Anurag Thakur said that a decision on playing in Pakistan will be taken over the time. If India pulls out of the event, it will be a massive setback to the tournament.
However, the cricket’s governing body is confident that all teams, including India, will have no problem playing in Pakistan.
“The answer is, from what we can see so far, absolutely (teams will travel),” Cricket governing body’s chair Greg Barclay was quoted by My Khel. “ICC cricket event is coming back to Pakistan after many years. All of it with the exception of what happened in the last few weeks has gone ahead without any any issues at all,” added Barclay, who was joined by ICC CEO Geoff Allardice.
“So, we wouldn’t have awarded the event if we didn’t think that Pakistan were capable of hosting it. We think it’s an exciting opportunity, a prospect for them to be able to host a world’s event for the first time for a period of quite a period of time.” “It’s not until 2025 and I’m sure that they will, as all countries are required to do, put together the appropriate security plans and assurances to ensure that they can been as delivered. So yes, we were comfortable and confident that we’ll go ahead,” Barclay added.
While Barclay admitted that it will be a challenge to convince India to play in Pakistan, he remained optimistic about the team participating in the event. He also hoped that cricket can improve the relations between the two countries.
“We know that it is particularly challenging issue to work through. I mean, from my point of view, I can’t control geopolitical forces are working on what we do. “But I just hope that cricket can be forced to perhaps help improve relationships between them. One of the great things that sport can do is to help to bring people in nations together. So, if we can do something and in a small way to contribute to that, then that’s fantastic,” he added.