ICC sources dismiss speculations about Pakistan playing World Cup matches in Bangladesh

India-Pakistan 2011 WC semis
Indian players celebrate their win over Pakistan in the semifinal of the 2011 World Cup at Mohali. File photo: AFP/Manan Vatsyayana

New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) sources on Wednesday dismissed speculations about Pakistan playing their World Cup matches in Bangladesh instead of India due to the political tension between the two countries, terming it a "figment of imagination".

The rebuttal came after reports that discussions were held during the recent ICC board meeting in Dubai about Pakistan possibly playing their league games in Bangladesh.

"No one knows if PCB chief Mr Najam Sethi has had any informal discussion with his Bangladeshi counterpart Najmul Hasan Papon, but this can be said with a degree of certainty that no such discussions happened officially," an ICC board source privy to the developments told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

The source did point out that procurement of visas was an issue that was discussed and, contrary to conjectures made from the PCB's part, the Board  of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has assured of all assistance.

"The BCCI has categorically said that there will be no problems with procurement of visas. One of the main points for a host country is that all participating nations will be given visas on time. From ICC's part, Bangladesh is not even in its scheme of things as a co-host as of now," the source said.

"Suppose Pakistan reach the semifinals or win to play the finals, do they expect the matches to be played in Bangladesh. This is not a theatre of absurd happening," the board member added.

The top brass in the BCCI circles understands that this is a pressure tactic put by the PCB to host the entire Asia Cup in Pakistan.

"We understand that this is a kind of pressure tactic applied by PCB because of the Asia Cup issue. But let me tell you, ultimately, Asia Cup will also be played in (the) UAE or Qatar and probably Pakistan will also have to play its matches in one of these countries," a BCCI source said.

Asian Cricket Council (ACC) chairman and BCCI secretary Jay Shah has already made it clear that India is not travelling to Pakistan for the Asia Cup and that it will be held at a neutral venue.

"As far as Pakistan playing its Asia Cup games in Pakistan is concerned, the budget for the tournament is passed by the Asian Cricket Council. If ACC says that it's not a commercially viable proposition to hold Asia Cup in two countries, how can Pakistan play its games at home. ACC, for all you know, might not pass the budget," a board source said.

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