ICC chairman Greg Barclay and CEO Geoff Allardice are set to visit Pakistan on Tuesday, with the country’s participation in the World Cup in India in October-November this year expected to be the main part of the discussions. The trip is part of a series of regular visits to Full Members.
Given the tense relations between India and Pakistan, PCB head Najam Sethi suggested there is a “distinct possibility” that the Pakistan government will not allow Pakistan to travel to India. The World Cup schedule is to be announced during the World Test Championship final which starts at The Oval from June 7, although there continues to be uncertainty over Pakistan’s participation in the tournament.
That arose when India refused to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup to be held in September, and neither agreed to the PCB’s proposed hybrid model that will see only four out of 13 Asia Cup matches to be played in Pakistan. As per that proposal, the remaining nine matches – including the final – will be played at a neutral venue.
Although Pakistan are officially the hosts of the tournament, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is yet to give a green signal for the tournament to be held as proposed by the PCB. However, heads of the India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan boards are to meet during the IPL final in Ahmedabad for informal discussions on the Asia Cup.
Wasim Khan, the ICC’s general manager of cricket, said on Monday that the discussions between India and Pakistan on this matter are still “ongoing”.
“That’s something that is ongoing at the moment. Greg and Geoff are in Pakistan at the moment (landing Tuesday morning), discussing a number of areas with the PCB hierarchy,” Wasim said. “That is certainly up to the two countries and the hierarchy within the ICC to discuss and come to some conclusions.”
Barclay and Allardice’s visit to Pakistan will be the first by high-ranked ICC officials since the then-president Ray Mali’s visit in 2008. They will be in the country for two days, during which a range of topics will be on the table, including the ICC’s finance model and deliberations around Pakistan hosting the Champions Trophy in February 2025. It is understood that Barclay also visited India before his trip to Pakistan.
Last year, Pakistan had earned the right to host their first ICC event since 1996 when they had co-hosted the World Cup along with India and Sri Lanka. While Pakistan was initially supposed to host the Champions Trophy in 2008, the tournament was postponed to 2009 for security reasons, only for South Africa to eventually host it in September-October that year. Thereafter, an attack on the visiting Sri Lanka team in early 2009 then took away Pakistan’s hosting rights of the 2011 World Cup.
However, Pakistan have been back to staging international cricket over the last few years and have hosted South Africa, Australia, England and New Zealand for full tours, even as matches against India have taken place only across ICC and ACC events.
Meanwhile, the PCB is also likely to take up its concerns with the ICC regarding the latter’s proposed revenue-distribution model. Although the model is yet to be finalised, it is expected to be approved by June, before being formally adopted at the ICC’s AGM in Durban in July.
But Sethi said his board will not approve the model unless it is presented with more details of the workings behind it. From the proposed model, the BCCI is expected to receive 38.5% of the ICC’s annual projected earnings of US $600 million, with the PCB to get a much lower share of only 5.75%.