Lahore, June 1 (IANS) Greg Barclay, Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Chief Executive Geoff Allardice have concluded their two-day visit to Lahore. This was Barclay’s first tour of Pakistan, thus becoming the first ICC Chairman to tour Pakistan since ICC President Ray Mali’s visit in 2008.
“It has been great to be here. My approach has been to visit all the member countries and see how cricket and cricket administration operates in their respective jurisdiction as every country and member is different in terms of size, scale, economy and where they might sit in the cricketing hierarchy.”
“The cricket facilities in Pakistan and the cricket programmes are great and now, that international cricket has returned to Pakistan and the PCB is able to successfully deliver bilateral arrangements at home, I think we’ll see Pakistan cricket reach another level for both men and women, and that will also have a positive impact in terms of commercial upside,” said Barclay in a statement by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
During the two-day visit, PCB also said Barclay and Allardice met with Najam Sethi, Chair of the PCB Management Committee, and other officials, to discuss wide-ranging matters of mutual interest around cricket, including promotion, growth and development.
“I enjoyed the briefing on the men’s and women’s cricket development plans and programmes at an administrative level and the progress that is being made. I think the future for Pakistan in terms of female participation and international successes is going to be huge in terms of potential.”
“From the ICC’s view, given that we have a strategy to grow the game globally, to see where the PCB fits in is also very pleasing. I am going to leave here well impressed with what I have seen,” added Barclay.
The Lahore visit by Barclay and Allardice came at a time when over the last few months, multiple reports had emerged that the 2023 Asia Cup could be held in a hybrid model of staging matches, especially with Pakistan being the host of this year’s edition of the competition and India not travelling to the country due to political tensions between the two countries.
Due to this, Pakistan’s participation in the 2023 Men’s Cricket World Cup, to be hosted by India in October-November, is under huge uncertainty. The 2023 ODI World Cup schedule is set to be announced during the World Test Championship final between India and Australia at The Oval from June 7-11.
Apart from visiting the PCB headquarters, Barclay and Allardice visited the National Cricket Academy, Lahore Fort, Lahore Museum, Safe City Project and Minar-e-Pakistan.
“I want to thank Greg and Geoff for undertaking this tour to Lahore, which provided both the ICC and the PCB with an opportunity to exchange views and ideas on the global cricket ecosystem.”
“The PCB looks forward to continuing our discussions and working closely with the ICC to put together global strategies and plans that are not only in the best interest of all its Members but also achieve the common objective of growing and developing the game by attracting new audiences,” added Sethi, also an ICC Director.
For the 2023 Asia Cup, India and Pakistan have been grouped together alongside Nepal in the six-team tournament, which will be played in the 50-over format in preparation for the ODI World Cup.
Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are the sides featured in the other group. The top two teams from each group advance to the Super Four stage and from there, the top two teams play in the final.