In a rare occurrence, cricketers from India and Pakistan are expected to play on the same squad as part of a relaunch of the Afro-Asia Cup scheduled for mid-2023.
Frosty government ties and political disputes have flowed over into cricket. As a result, the sport’s greatest fierce rivalry tragically only occurs in ICC events such as World Cups.
The last bilateral series between India and Pakistan was in 2012-13 in India. Since then, they haven’t played a bilateral series. They last played a Test match in 2007 and are yet to face each other in the World Test Championship.
Pakistani cricketers do not compete in the financial behemoth of the Indian Premier League (IPL). On the other hand, Indian cricketers do not compete in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Seeing these two teams play against each other is rare, but when they do, the broadcast & television viewership skyrockets.
It’s no surprise that World Cup formats have been purposefully rearranged throughout the years to ensure that India and Pakistan meet.
While there is strife between the countries, which spills over onto the boards, officials understand the big payoff if the teams play each other, as well as the larger linked benefits.
The Asia Cup, which hasn’t been played since 2018, is planned to be played annually, switching between T20I and ODI formats, to ensure that the lucrative India-Pakistan matches become a little more frequent.
The updated version, which will be played in the T20I format, is scheduled for June-July of next year, with discussions kicking off at the ICC board meeting in April between Shah and new African Cricket Association (ACC) chairman Sumod Damodar, and chairman of the development committee Mahinda Vallipuram, who is also an Associate Member director on the ICC board.