Pakistan Cricket Board eyes Champions Trophy



Dubai, Feb. 14 (TNS): With ICC looking away from India due to tax issues but wanting same time zone, Pak board wants to host the global tourney.

Will India’s loss be Pakistan’s gain? Well, one is not yet sure if that is true but it could end up being the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) gain. The PCB is now making a serious pitch for the Champions Trophy that is expected to be taken away from India on tax-related issues.

With no indications of obtaining tax waivers for the global tournaments, particularly for the Champions Trophy in 2021— more on the format later — the International Cricket Council (ICC) is looking to host the event in the same time zone as India’s and the PCB is trying to make most of the vacuum.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is currently in no position to commit to the ICC about obtaining the tax exemptions and the world body is now seriously thinking of exploring other avenues, rather other venues. As is well known now, the ICC has not managed to obtain the required waivers for the 2016 World Twenty20 despite serious efforts from its officials. ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson and its general manager Campbell Jamieson met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi six months back but the meeting, evidently, has not cut much ice.

When approached for confirmation, the PCB leadership did not offer a comment but those in the direct knowledge of the ICC thinking say the PCB offer will be considered seriously. Where the matches will be held is an important issue as Pakistan still is a no-go zone for the world teams but one is talking of an event that is more than three years away. The PCB, one understands, will have the option of hosting the allotted games in the United Arab Emirates – as it has been doing for the last nine years — and it could push for a few Pakistan games in Lahore.

Tax exemption is not a problem in the UAE but if the matches were to be played in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, who should be considered as hosts – Pakistan or UAE? The ICC has not yet gone into such technicalities but is looking at alternatives away from India. It will finalise on this in the next few months and the PCB offer is very much under consideration.

Finally one more point: If the ICC moves the Champions Trophy away from India, the decision could impact on the 2023 World Cup, which is also allotted to India.