Najam Sethi, head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management committee, recently addressed former cricketer Shahid Afridi’s criticisms concerning the potential boycott of the World Cup in India due to the Asia Cup venue controversy.
Afridi had earlier voiced his bafflement over PCB’s strong stance against participating in the World Cup in India. He urged the board to view the situation more positively and encourage the national team to strive for victory.
“Why this strong determination by PCB not to go to India? They should decomplicate the situation. It’s an international cricket tournament, so let’s take it positively. Go and play. Urge your boys to bring back the trophy; the entire nation is behind you. A victory wouldn’t just be a triumph for us, but also a metaphorical slap in the face of BCCI,” Afridi had commented.
In reply, Sethi explained that the decision regarding Pakistan’s participation in the World Cup was beyond his purview, Afridi’s, or even that of Jay Shah, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“The power to decide on World Cup participation doesn’t lie with Shahid Afridi, Jay Shah, or myself. This decision falls within the domain of the Indian and Pakistani governments,” Sethi conveyed to the BBC.
Sethi stressed that if the Pakistani government gave its assurance about the team’s safety in India, Pakistan would undoubtedly participate in the World Cup. He underlined that PCB’s stance was based on the Pakistani government’s assessment of the security situation in India.
“If our government gives us the green light that it’s safe for our team to play the World Cup in India, we’ll certainly go,” Sethi affirmed.
Thus, the final call is in the hands of the respective governments. Until there’s satisfactory assurance regarding safety and security, the PCB will continue to prudently weigh all factors before deciding on Pakistan’s World Cup participation.