Zaka Ashraf, Jay Shah met in Durban to address Asia Cup, World Cup concerns

Shah and Ashraf also focused on bilateral cricket relations between Pakistan and India

Pakistan and India Cricket Officials Hold Friendly Meeting at ICC Gathering

Zaka Ashraf, the Chairman of the Interim Management Committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), had a friendly encounter with Jay Shah, Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), during an International Cricket Council meeting in Durban, South Africa.

Sources reveal that the meeting between the two officials took place in a cordial atmosphere, with Shah congratulating Ashraf on assuming his role as Chairman of the PCB Management Committee. They engaged in discussions covering various topics of interest.

Among the key subjects discussed was Pakistan’s participation in the upcoming World Cup, as well as the potential increase in matches to be held in Pakistan as part of the Asia Cup, following the accepted hybrid model. Doubts were raised regarding the Asia Cup when Ehsan ur Rehman Mazari, the Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination, suggested that India should play their Asia Cup matches in Pakistan before Pakistan’s participation in the World Cup in India. Mazari also proposed hosting more Asia Cup matches in Pakistan.

Notably, Mazari is a member of a prominent committee established by Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, to deliberate on Pakistan’s involvement in the Indian-hosted World Cup.

However, a “hybrid model” had already been agreed upon by the PCB, BCCI, and other members of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) during the tenure of the former Chairman of the Interim Management Committee, Najam Sethi. According to the currently accepted model, Pakistan will host four matches of the Asia Cup before the tournament moves to Sri Lanka.

During a recent press conference, Ashraf affirmed that the PCB would honor its commitment to the ACC and its members by proceeding with the “hybrid model” for the Asia Cup. Although the PCB doesn’t fully support this model, they will respect the decision made by the previous management.

Furthermore, Ashraf extended an invitation to Shah to attend the Asia Cup matches in Pakistan, which was gladly accepted by the BCCI Secretary.

“Pakistani people know how to welcome and take care of their guests. This is a good start. We will have more such meetings in the future,” Ashraf expressed.

Similarly, Shah invited Ashraf to witness the World Cup matches in India, which the PCB Chief gladly accepted.

In addition to discussions about the Asia Cup and World Cup, Shah and Ashraf also focused on bilateral cricket relations between Pakistan and India. Earlier that day, Zaka Ashraf expressed his intention to explore the resumption of bilateral cricket between the two countries in an interview with a local news outlet. He emphasized the importance of establishing confidence-building measures between the cricket boards of both nations and promoting cricket relations.

The last bilateral series between Pakistan and India took place in 2012, and since then, they have only faced each other in multi-lateral tournaments.

Regarding Pakistan’s participation in the World Cup, Ashraf stated that the committee formed by the Prime Minister would determine the venues and ensure adequate security arrangements in accordance with the requirements of the Government of Pakistan.

The 2023 World Cup is scheduled to be held in India from October 5 to November 19.

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