PCB Chairman Najam Sethi says Pakistan’s boycott of Cricket World Cup in India is highly probable. (Cricket news)

Pakistan is set to host the Asian Cup in September, but India has declined to participate due to safety concerns. The Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Najam Sethi, has urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to make “appropriate and rational decisions” to prevent future issues. Sethi warned that if Pakistan lost the upcoming Cricket World Cup, India will be banned later this year. There is a “very real possibility” that Pakistan will boycott the World Cup, which is set to take place in September.

Pakistan has offered India a ‘hybrid’ deal to play for United Arab Emirates instead of travelling to Pakistan. Although the BCCI has yet to respond, Sethi stated that India wants the entire tournament to be moved out of Pakistan to a neutral venue. The Cricket World Cup will be held in India in October-November, and Sethi has called on the BCCI to make “appropriate and rational decisions” to avoid future problems.

Sethi explained that there are also safety concerns for Indian teams, which is why Pakistan wants them to play in Dhaka, Mirpur, UAE or Sri Lanka. However, he hopes India can agree to a hybrid model for the Asian Cup, and that reciprocal terms will apply at the World Cup. Furthermore, Sethi has stated that BCCI’s “stubbornness” has prevented India and Pakistan from meeting regularly.

India and Pakistan only meet in global events, and a lack of bilateral matches from India has caused contention. In 2009, the Sri Lankan team’s bus was attacked in Lahore when they returned to play in Pakistan. Despite this, major countries have been touring Pakistan in recent years. Sethi added, “India versus Pakistan is the biggest game in town…why can’t the Indian cricket team come to Pakistan?”

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