Pakistan government has formed a high-profile committee headed by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to consider the country’s participation in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 that begins in India this October, local media reported. A report in Pakistan media outlet Geo News citing sources stated that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had formed the committee to decide whether the country should send the national squad to India or not.
The decision was taken after the cricket governing body of Pakistan sought clearance for the country’s participation in the World Cup matches being held in India, Geo News reported. Apart from Bilawal, the committee comprises Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of Inter-Provincial Coordination Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari, chiefs of the national security institutions, and foreign secretary. According to the schedule released by ICC on June 27, Pakistan are scheduled to play their first match on October 6 against Qualifier 1 and they will lock horns with arch-rival India on October 15 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Earlier, Espncricinfo reported that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had written to Prime Minister Sharif, the country’s Interior, and the Foreign Ministry for official clearances to travel to India for the Cricket World Cup. It also sought whether there are any reservations about any of the five venues earmarked for hosting games featuring the Men in Green.
The portal reported that the PCB also sought to know if the Pakistani government wants to send a security delegation to assess the facilities and arrangements before clearing the team’s visit to India for the showpiece event. Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has said that Indian players will not travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2023 beginning this August 31 after the government in India refused clearance citing security issues. This has forced the Pakistan Cricket Board to host matches in a hybrid model, with four games scheduled to be held in Pakistan and the remaining in Sri Lanka. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal will compete in 13 exciting One Day International (ODI) matches from August 31 to September 17, 2023. India and Pakistan have not played against each other in any bilateral cricket series for over ten years, and face each other only at the ICC and ACC tournaments. The current term of the Shehbaz Sharif government in Pakistan is set to expire in August and it is likely that any decision about the team’s visit to India would probably be postponed until the new administration enters office. (ANI)