Pakistan should also demand neutral venue for World Cup matches just like India did for Asia Cup

Minister of Inter-Provincial Coordination, Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari, has voiced his concerns about Pakistan touring India for the upcoming ICC World Cup. Mazari stated that Pakistan should demand to have their World Cup matches played at a neutral venue, citing India’s decision to do the same for the Asia Cup 2023.

We would demand to play World Cup matches out of India, says Mazari

In an interview with The Indian Express, Mazari expressed his personal opinion, saying, “If India demands to play their Asia Cup games at a neutral venue, we would also demand the same for our World Cup games in India,” given that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) falls under his ministry.

The Asia Cup will adopt a hybrid model this year due to India’s refusal to tour Pakistan over security concerns. The initial phase, comprising four matches, will be held in Pakistan, but the event will then transition to Sri Lanka for the remaining matches, including the knockout stage, with nine matches hosted by the island country.

Mazari emphasized that as the host nation for the Asia Cup, Pakistan has the right to host all the matches domestically, in accordance with the wishes of cricket lovers. He expressed his preference for a non-hybrid model.

In related news, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, has formed a high-profile committee to determine whether the national cricket team will travel to India for the Cricket World Cup scheduled for October-November 2023. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will lead the committee, which includes Mazari among its 11 members. The committee will discuss the issue and present recommendations to the Prime Minister, who also serves as the patron-in-chief of the PCB, before a final decision is made.

Mazari dismissed the notion that Pakistan is an unsafe country for cricket, while also criticizing India for politicizing sports. He pointed out that India often intertwines sports and politics, questioning why the Indian government is reluctant to send their cricket team to Pakistan when other sports teams, such as baseball and bridge, have previously visited. He highlighted that Pakistan’s football, hockey, and chess teams also travel to India without incident.

Regarding security concerns, Mazari argued that they are not a solid argument against playing in Pakistan. He mentioned that New Zealand and England cricket teams recently toured Pakistan with presidential-level security, while the Indian team received a warm welcome during their visit. Mazari emphasized that security is being used as an excuse, pointing out that the successful Pakistan Super League (PSL) involved numerous foreign players.

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