“I rejected Asia Cup hybrid model”: Will Zaka Ashraf force a cancellation of the tournament?

There appears to be another controversy brewing in relation to the upcoming Asia Cup 2023 as Zaka Ashraf, soon to take over as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman, said on Wednesday (June 21) that he had rejected the hybrid-hosting model that has been approved by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) for the tournament, scheduled to be played in September in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Addressing the media in Pakistan, Ashraf said that he felt the ACC had done a severe injustice to the PCB by taking the tournament away from the country and shifting it to Sri Lanka.

“I rejected the hybrid model for Asia Cup,” he told reporters. “In my personal opinion, it is Pakistan’s right to host the complete Asia Cup 2023 because the Asian Cricket Council gave us hosting rights. Pakistan only hosting Nepal is an injustice to the PCB.”

However, his statement has not been well received by those making major decisions for the Asia Cup. One source has confirmed to RevSportz that there would be severe consequences if the PCB try to create a fuss around the Asia Cup after the ACC accepted the hybrid model, which was proposed by Najam Sethi, representing the PCB.

ALSO READ: Asia Cup 2023 Hybrid Model Approved: ACC announces schedule and venue details for the tournament

“A new chairman can’t come in and give his personal opinions,” the source told RevSportz. “The hybrid model was an organisational proposal not of any individual. It was accepted only after the PCB had proposed the hybrid model. ACC didn’t propose anything. It was the PCB. If Pakistan try to pull out from the model, which has now been mandated by the ACC, there will be severe consequences both legally and cricketing wise.”

It’s not only Asia Cup in the spotlight either. Ehsan Ur Rehman Mazari, Pakistan’s Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC), had scathing remarks regarding Pakistan travelling to India for the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup, scheduled to be played in October-November.

“India uses cricket for politics,” said Mazari. “If India demanded Asia Cup at a neutral venue, then Pakistan should also demand to play the World Cup at a neutral venue as well.”

Even in May, Ashraf had said that India should sit at home if they were not willing to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.

ALSO READ: How Asia Cup Logjam was Resolved, and Hybrid Model Accepted

“If India has reservations about playing in Pakistan, they should choose to stay at home while we will complete the event with the other four nations,” he had said. “We have previously emerged victorious in the Asia Cup twice, once during my tenure and once before me. Therefore, our focus should be on thorough preparation for the tournament, aiming to complete the hat-trick of Asia Cup titles.”

The comments from Ashraf and Mazari, though personal opinions, have already created a ruckus among fans on social media. The PCB’s future course of action remains to be seen, both in terms of the Asia Cup and Pakistan’s participation in the World Cup. 

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