Sports Minister Anurag Thakur Responds To Pakistan Cricket Board’s “World Cup” Remark

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The Union minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur on Thursday gave a sharp response to the Pakistan Cricket Board’s statement about its participation in the ICC World Cup in India next year. After Asian Cricket Council chief Jay Shah said that India will not travel to Pakistan for next year’s Asia Cup and that the tournament could be shifted out of Pakistan to a neutral venue, PCB had issued a strong statement mentioning that such a move could jeopardise their own participation in the World Cup.

Responding to PCB’s statement, Anurag Thakur, the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, has said that all big teams, including Pakistan, will take part in the ODI World Cup, which will be held in India in 2023.

“It’s BCCI’s matter and they will comment on it. India is a sporting powerhouse, where many World Cups have been organised. The ODI World Cup will also take place next year in India and all big teams around the globe will take part in it. Because, you can’t ignore India in any sport. India has contributed a lot to sports, especially cricket. So, the World Cup will be organised next year, and it will grand and historic event. Home ministry will take a decision as there is security concerns in Pakistan. It’s not just cricket. India is not in a position to listen to anyone,” Thakur said during an event for the announcement of the Khelo India Youth Games.

Pakistan and India are all set to square off in the T20 World Cup Super 12 fixture on Sunday, October 23.

In it’s statement PCB mentioned that it was “surprised and disappointed” at the comments made by Mr Shah and that such a step could impact Pakistan’s participation in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in India in 2023.

Here is the full statement issued by PCB:

“The PCB has noted with surprise and disappointment of yesterday’s comments made by the ACC President Mr Jay Shah with regards to shifting of next year’s Asia Cup to a neutral venue. The comments were made without any discussion or consultation with the Board of the Asian Cricket Council or the Pakistan Cricket Board (event host) and without any thoughts towards their long-term consequences and implications.

“After having presided over the ACC meeting during which Pakistan was awarded the ACC Asia Cup with an overwhelming support and response from the ACC Board Members, Mr Shah’s statement of shifting of the ACC Asia Cup has clearly been made unilaterally. This is contrary to the philosophy and spirit for which the Asian Cricket Council was formed in September 1983 – a united Asian cricket body to safeguard the interests of the its Members and organise, develop, and promote the game of cricket in Asia.

“The overall impact of such statements have the potential to split the Asian and international cricketing communities, and can impact Pakistan’s visit to India for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 and future ICC Events in India in the 2024-2031 cycle.

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“The PCB has to date not received any official communication or clarification from the ACC on the statement of the ACC President. As such, the PCB has now requested the Asian Cricket Council to convene an emergency meeting of its Board as soon as practically possible to discuss this important and sensitive matter.”

India had last toured Pakistan for a bilateral series in 2005-06 under the leadership of Rahul Dravid. India and Pakistan have not played a bilateral cricket series since 2012-13 when Pakistan had toured India for three T20Is and as many ODIs. Since then, both have just met in world events or Asia Cup.

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