'Is Ahmedabad pitch haunted?' - Afridi's interesting take on PCB's 2023 World Cup stance
The ultimate acceptance of their proposed hybrid model may have paved clearance to the path of the Asia Cup 2023, but Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) stance on the 2023 World Cup to be played in India remains unclear.
While the confirmation of Pakistan and Sri Lanka as hosts of the Asia Cup was expected to resolve the messy ground on the Asian giant's participation in the quadrennial event across the border, the PCB is citing government approval as the final hurdle to a prosperous tournament in India.
PCB chief Najam Sethi has insisted on safety issues, particularly in playing the marquee India-Pakistan match at the 1 lakh-seated Ahmedabad ground. Concerned about the player welfare for the match to be held at the den of the existing Indian political regime, known for its anti-Pakistan stance, the PCB says it awaits a green signal from the Pakistan authorities to board the plane to the neighbouring land.
The PCB officials may have left the onus on the government to take the final call on World Cup participation, former skipper Shahid Afridi, however, believes it is a weak footing to operate in and comes across as an excuse to play the hosts in front of a crowd dominated completed Indian supporters.
Shahid Afridi on PCB's Ahmedabad-wary World Cup stance
Speaking on Pakistan-based 'Samaa TV' in his own free and unabashed attitude, Shahid Afridi said does the PCB fear of ghostly presence on the Ahmedabad ground?
For Afridi, if the security of the players is well taken care of, the Pakistan cricket team and the board shall have no issues in sending the team for the World Cup.
"Why are they declining to play on Ahmedabad pitches? Does it hurl fire or is it haunted?" Afridi said. "Go and play - go, play and win. If these are the foreseen challenges, then the only way to overcome them is through a comprehensive victory. What matters at the end of the day is Pakistan team's win."
"The crux only and only lies in there. Take this rather positively. If they [India] are comfortable there, you should go, pull a victory in front of packed Indian crowd and show them what you got," he added.
Given the stakes are going to be absolutely high, with the world watching on the loop, the BCCI and the Indian government will have to provide top-notch security arrangements for the World Cup. The circumstances, then, shall boost PCB and the Pakistan government's confidence before sending the team across.