If Jay Shah chooses to make an appearance at the opening ceremony of the International League Twenty20 on Thursday, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Najam Sethi, plans to have a discussion with him about the Asia Cup hosting rights that his country is eligible to compete for.
“Najam will take advantage of this chance to work on relations with the members of the ACC and guarantee that the Asia Cup is hosted in Pakistan in September of this year as planned.
“Basically, Najam is also going as he has been communicated that there is strong likelihood of BCCI boss Jay Shah also being in attendance,” a source close to the PCB told PTI under the condition of anonymity.
However, the BCCI has not yet confirmed whether or not its top boss or any of the other office-bearers will be present at the inaugural ceremony.
Even if Shah attends the function in his capacity as ACC president and BCCI secretary, the second important question that needs to be answered is whether or not he would be willing to receive the PCB chairman for an informal chat on the sidelines of the event. In his previous role as chairman of the ACC, Shah had announced the previous year that the Asia Cup would be moved away from Pakistan. In response, the former president of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Ramiz Raja, had issued a threat that Pakistan would withdraw from the World Cup if it were held in India.
Recently, Sethi launched a sarcastic jab at Shah after the ACC chairman had revealed the two-year schedule, which the PCB chief claimed was not discussed with his board. Sethi’s comment came after Shah had claimed that the itinerary was not discussed with his board.
After The Emirates Cricket Board has invited the head of all big cricket boards, and Sethi will be in attendance during the opening day, where he wants to speak to his other ACC colleagues in order to garner support for Pakistan retaining its hosting rights for the ODI Asia Cup in September, the ACC had strongly come out in its president’s defence as they released a press statement that clarified that PCB didn’t get back with its preferred recommendation after The Emirates Cricket Board has invited the head of all big cricket boards.
“According to Sethi, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) needs to improve its connections with the members of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), whose backing is essential if Pakistan is going to host the Asia Cup.
“Having served as a former chairman of the ACC, Najam will be assuring all members that Pakistan is completely safe and secure to host the regional event, and all teams, including India, are required to send their teams,” he said. “Najam will be giving out assurances to all members that Pakistan is completely safe and secure to host the regional event.”
The source for the PCB stated that there was a view in the board that former chairman Ramiz had gone overboard with his threats to the ACC and BCCI, and that the PCB needs to first ensure that it is able to host the Asia Cup as well as the Champions Trophy in 2025.
“If Shah does come to Dubai, it will also allow Sethi to meet him in person or other BCCI officials on the sidelines and discuss the issue of India sending its team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup,” Sethi said. “If Shah does come to Dubai, it will also allow Sethi to meet him in person and discuss the issue.”
According to the source, Sethi would also visit the offices of the ICC and meet with top officials to discuss Pakistan’s hosting of the Champions Trophy in 2025 as well as India’s hosting of the World Cup in this year.
It is significant that Sethi chose to accept the invitation from the ECB because the PCB had a contentious dispute with the ECB during Ramiz’s tenure. The dispute began when the former chairman publicly discouraged Pakistani players from participating in the league. Sethi’s decision to accept the invitation is significant because of this dispute.