Zaka Ashraf not happy with hybrid Asia Cup model but will ‘honour the commitment’

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During a media interaction on Wednesday, Ashraf had said that he “rejected” the hybrid model, sparking discussion about whether negotiations around the specifics of the Asia Cup would have to resume. But later he told ESPNcricinfo that “the decision has been made, so we have to go with it”

“In my personal opinion, this whole hybrid model isn’t beneficial for Pakistan and I didn’t like it,” Ashraf said. “Being a host, Pakistan should have negotiated better to make sure that the entire tournament should have played in Pakistan. Sri Lanka taking the bigger lot of games, leaving Pakistan with only four games, isn’t in the best interest of our country.

“But I see the decision has been made, so we have to go with it. I will not block or have any intention not to comply with the decision. I cannot do much about it but to honour the commitment. But going forward, every decision we make will be made for and in the interest of the country.”

The 2023 Men’s Asia Cup was originally meant to be held entirely in Pakistan but after the BCCI said India would not travel there, Sethi proposed the hybrid model, which was then approved by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). The model sees four, possibly five, of the tournament’s 13 games being played in Pakistan. The rest will be played in Sri Lanka including all the India-Pakistan games and the final if India qualify.

Apart from Sri Lanka, the UAE was in the running as a neutral venue but Bangladesh raised concerns over the extreme weather there in September. After weeks of extensive discussions, the ACC accepted the PCB’s proposal of the tournament being played in two countries.

While Ashraf made these comments in a personal capacity, he is expected to replace Sethi as the new PCB chair after he and Supreme Court lawyer Mustafa Ramday were nominated by the country’s prime minister to join the PCB’s board of governors. Sethi was heading the interim management committee that ran the PCB until Tuesday, when he withdrew from the running to become the board chairman.

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