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India will not go to Pakistan, the Champions Trophy in a hybrid model!

India refused to play the Asia Cup in Pakistan. After much muddling through, Pakistan was finally forced to host the hybrid model Asia Cup. As a result, India played their matches in Sri Lanka. Babar Azam’s country is hosting another big tournament next year. Pakistan is hosting an ICC tournament after 29 years. But this time too India is bent.

For the first time since 1996, an ICC tournament is going to be held in Pakistan. The ICC Champions Trophy, known as the Knockout World Cup, will be held in Pakistan again next year. As that tournament approaches, strained India-Pakistan relations are complicating the situation.

India did not go to play the Asia Cup in Pakistan last year. In the end, Pakistan was forced to host the tournament in a hybrid model. As a result, India played their matches in Sri Lanka. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has similarly demanded a hybrid model for the Champions Trophy. The news agency Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) said so in a report. Several Indian and Pakistani media have also published the same news citing the organization.

India-Pakistan have not played a bilateral series against each other for more than a century. Only in the tournaments organized by ICC or ACC, these two arch-rivals can be seen facing each other. However, since the last few days, discussions are going on about organizing India-Pakistan series again. First, India’s captain Rohit Sharma called for a red-ball test series. Pakistani legend Shahid Afridi supported him. As a result, the fans began to enjoy the thrill of watching regular fights between the two arch-rivals.

The IANS report broke that dream instantly. Quoting BCCI sources, the organization has expressed apprehension about India playing on Pakistani soil in the Champions Trophy. Quoting a BCCI official, the agency said in the report, “Keep the bilateral series…Team India may not go to Pakistan to play the Champions Trophy.” As a result, it is very likely that the venue of the tournament may change, there is a possibility of bringing a hybrid model.

The source of BCCI also said that Indian government’s permission is needed before Men in Blue to play in Pakistan, “Indian board needs government permission to travel there, currently our relationship with Pakistan is not that good.” Champions Trophy is an ICC event, so it is a very tough decision for India. Nothing is possible without government’s direction/green signal. Besides, I do not see any possibility of a bilateral series between the two countries in the near future.

The two teams last played a bilateral series 17 years ago. In the 2012-13 season, the Misbah-ul-Haq-led Pakistan team was scheduled to play a series in India. But that series was cancelled. Despite not playing a series against each other, these two teams have met regularly in the ICC and ACC tournaments.

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