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Team India unlikely to travel to Pakistan for Champions Trophy 2025, BCCI seeks matches in UAE or Sri Lanka

The Indian cricket team is unlikely to travel to Pakistan for the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy, as BCCI sources have revealed to ANI.

Team India unlikely to travel to Pakistan for Champions Trophy 2025, BCCI seeks matches in Dubai or Sri Lanka snt
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First Published Jul 11, 2024, 10:36 AM IST

The upcoming 2025 ICC Champions Trophy faces uncertainty as India appears unlikely to travel to Pakistan for the tournament amidst ongoing bilateral tensions. Reports quoting BCCI sources suggest that the Board of Control for Cricket in India is considering a hybrid model, similar to the recent Asia Cup, with matches potentially relocated to the UAE or Sri Lanka.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had earlier forwarded a draft schedule to the International Cricket Council (ICC), highlighting India's matches scheduled in Lahore, including a highly anticipated clash against arch-rivals slated for March 1. However, with the BCCI yet to confirm travel arrangements, speculation mounts about the tournament's format and venue logistics.

"It is highly unlikely that the team will travel to Pakistan for the Champions Trophy but a final will be taken by the government. So, in that case, a hybrid model is being worked out. India may play their matches in UAE or Sri Lanka just like the Asia Cup. Although the ICC will also have their stand on it, as of now this is what we are thinking of. Let's see how things go in the future. As of now, it looks like it will be played in a hybrid model," a source was quoted as saying in an India Today report.

Efforts are reportedly underway to advocate for this hybrid approach during an upcoming ICC Board Meeting in Colombo later this month, where the matter will be deliberated among member nations. The PCB, led by Chair Mohsin Naqvi, remains steadfast in its plans to host the entire tournament domestically, bolstered by substantial investments to upgrade stadiums in Karachi, Lahore, and Rawalpindi.

India's stance on bilateral cricket with Pakistan has remained firm since the 2012-13 season, citing concerns over cross-border terrorism. Former Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur underscored last year that cricketing ties would not resume until such issues were addressed by Pakistan.

Last year, Pakistan hosted the Asia Cup in a hybrid model after India declined to play in Pakistan. India's matches were held in Sri Lanka, where Rohit Sharma's team emerged victorious ahead of the ODI World Cup. Conversely, Pakistan traveled to India for the ODI World Cup. Initially insistent on hosting all matches at home, the PCB eventually adopted a hybrid model for the Asia Cup.

ICC head of events Chris Tetley recently held a meeting with PCB chairman Naqvi in Islamabad following the inspection of venues and other preparations by the world body's security team. The PCB has allocated approximately 17 billion rupees to upgrade its stadiums in Karachi, Lahore, and Rawalpindi ahead of the upcoming 50-over marquee tournament, which will feature 8 teams.

Having clinched the Champions Trophy in 2017 with a memorable victory over India in the final, Pakistan, as defending champions, is determined to rebound strongly after disappointing performances in the ODI and T20 World Cups of 2023 and 2024 respectively.

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