Cricket Diplomacy: BCCI’s Historic Visit to Pakistan for Asia Cup 2023 Spurs Hope for Improved Relations
LAHORE (DT)- A distinguished delegation, spearheaded by BCCI President Roger Binny, has embarked on a significant journey to Pakistan amid the highly anticipated Asia Cup 2023. This envoy comprises notable figures including BCCI Vice-President Rajeev Shukla, Director BCCI Yudhvir Singh, and Secretary to the Vice President, Muhammad Akram.
Their primary objective is to engage in substantive discussions with officials from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), focusing on areas of mutual interest within the realm of cricket diplomacy.
The delegation’s visit commenced with a gracious welcome extended by PCB Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf upon their arrival. This warm reception sets a promising tone for their mission. In addition to bilateral talks, the delegation is scheduled to partake in the Asia Cup 2023 fixture featuring Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, hosted at Lahore’s iconic Gaddafi Stadium, further reinforcing the spirit of sportsmanship.
To foster camaraderie and diplomacy, an official dinner has been arranged at the distinguished Governor’s House, gala dinner, a momentous occasion uniting teams from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, alongside the esteemed BCCI delegation to serving as a backdrop for productive conversations and relationship-building.
Rajeev Shukla, the BCCI Vice-President, emphasized the significance of this visit, stating, “As Pakistan graciously hosts the Asia Cup 2023, it was our responsibility to be present here. PCB and BCCI have a longstanding history of fostering strong cricketing relations, and we are poised to create lasting memories from this enriching journey.” This visit exemplifies the potential of sports as a conduit for diplomatic endeavors and fostering goodwill between nations.
BCCI Vice-President Rajiv Shukla – “We are here in Lahore upon the invitation of PCB. We will watch AsiaCup in Pakistan and will take good memories to India. The cricketing relations between PCB and BCCI will insha’Allah grow further.”
The PCB official is hopeful that the visit will improve relations between the PCB and the BCCI.
Welcoming the Indian dignitaries, PCB’s Ashraf expressed hope that the visit would act as a stepping stone in improving relations between the two cricketing boards.
Speaking to the media, BCCI President Roger Binny said: “It’s good to visit Pakistan after 2005”.
“We will watch Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka match tomorrow,” he added.
PCB suggests Jay Shah, Chairman of the Cricket Council of Asia, to move the Asian Cup to Pakistan from Sri Lanka due to the cities with heavy rain.
In response, Shah has reassured the PCB that the possibility of shifting the venue will duly be considered.
A decision regarding the transfer is expected in the next 24 to 36 hours, as per the sources, with Pakistan expressing its concerns over the situation impacting the game.
Sources say that the transfer of matches will be considered in the emergency meeting of the ACC, as more rain forecast has been made regarding the Sri Lankan capital.
If cricket matches move from Sri Lanka to Pakistan, then Pakistan’s team might be agreed to play in the World Cup held in India.
The Indian cricket team last went to Pakistan in 2008 for the Asia Cup, and Pakistan last hosted India for a series in 2006. If cricket diplomacy works again, they might resume bilateral cricket series in future.
PCB Gala dinner arranged for the Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan teams along with the BCCI delegation at Governor’s House in Lahore.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) September 4, 2023
cricket diplomacy has been a powerful tool for fostering people-to-people connections, initiating diplomatic talks, and symbolizing efforts towards peace between India and Pakistan, owing to the sport’s cultural significance and popularity in both countries.