In a significant development, the Asian Cricket Council’s (ACC) prestigious Asia Cup, scheduled to take place on the soil of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, is not only promising thrilling cricket action but also fostering a potential breakthrough in cricketing relations between India and Pakistan. The President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Roger Binny, along with Vice President Rajiv Shukla, is set to embark on a visit to Pakistan.
BCCI confirms officials visit
The occasion will see BCCI’s top officials participating in the opening ceremony of the Asia Cup, where Pakistan is slated to face Nepal on August 30th at the Multan Cricket Stadium. This diplomatic cricket visit signifies an attempt to mend and enhance cricketing ties between India and Pakistan.
As bilateral cricketing engagements between the two nations remain in hibernation since 2012/13, with the last bilateral series taking place in India, the cricketing community has eagerly awaited steps towards normalisation. The BCCI’s decision to send their officials to the opening match of the Asia Cup is a positive indication of the broader vision to rebuild cricket relations between the two cricketing giants.
PCB had earlier sent out invitations to BCCI
While political tensions have hampered bilateral cricket, the ACC’s move to schedule a prestigious tournament like the Asia Cup presents an opportunity to reignite the cricketing camaraderie. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had previously extended an invitation to BCCI secretary and ACC president Jay Shah to witness the Asia Cup’s inaugural clash, showcasing Nepal’s prowess against the hosts.
Crucially, this cricket diplomacy is expected to extend beyond the playing field, aiming to create a conducive environment for future cricket engagements. The visit also underscores the significance of cricket’s role in bridging gaps and fostering better relations between nations.
In the tournament itself, the Asia Cup 2023 will witness six participating teams – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Team India finds themselves placed in Group A alongside arch-rivals Pakistan and Nepal. The highly anticipated clash between India and Pakistan is scheduled for September 2nd, followed by a match against Nepal on September 4th.