Sri Lanka joins Pakistan in hybrid model for 2023 Asia Cup

Pakistan takes on Sri Lanka in the 2022 Asia Cup

Featured image credit: Asian Cricket Council

Pakistan has retained hosting rights to the 2023 Asia Cup, and will stage its first major multi-nation cricket tournament since 2008, after it was confirmed that Sri Lanka will step as co-host.

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has announced that this year’s tournament will be played in the one-day (ODI) international format from August 31 to September 17. Four matches will be held in Pakistan, with the remaining nine in Sri Lanka, although the venues are yet to be decided.

The Asia Cup will include the two host nations, plus India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal. The tournament was originally due to be hosted by Pakistan, but a hybrid model was deemed necessary after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) stated its national team would not travel to Pakistan amid the long-running tensions between the two countries.

Pakistan’s most recent major international cricket tournament remains the 2008 Asia Cup, but it is steadily regaining its status as a host. The national team had spent years having to play in effective exile following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore back in March 2009.

Najam Sethi, chair of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee, said: “I am elated that our hybrid version for the ACC Asia Cup 2023 has been accepted. This means the PCB will remain as the event host and stage matches in Pakistan with Sri Lanka as the neutral venue, which was required due to the Indian cricket team’s inability to travel to Pakistan.

“Our passionate fans would have loved to see the India cricket team in action in Pakistan for the first time in 15 years, but we understand the BCCI’s position. Like the PCB, the BCCI also requires government approval and clearance before crossing borders.

“In this background, the hybrid model was the best solution and that’s precisely why I advocated for it so strongly. The acceptance of the hybrid model means the event will take place as originally planned, the ACC will stay together and united, and the great game of cricket will continue to thrive and move forward in what will be interesting and exciting times for the subcontinent cricket fans in the coming 20 months.

“In the past 15 months, the PCB has delivered high-profile bilateral series as well as two immensely successful HBL Pakistan Super League events in which some of the world’s leading cricketers participated and enjoyed Pakistan’s outstanding arrangements and unprecedented hospitality.

“We look forward to providing similar experience to the participating sides in the ACC Asia Cup, which will be a prelude to the ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan in February/March 2025.

“I now look forward to continuing our discussions and deliberations with the ACC and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to iron out a few minor operational and logistical details so that we can launch our event planning and preparations.”

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