Pakistan has taken a significant stride towards securing the coveted ICC Champions Trophy hosting rights as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) formalized the hosting agreement with the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday, December 16. This move solidified Pakistan’s position as the potential host for the prestigious tournament.
Uncertainty loomed over Pakistan’s hosting status following India’s influence on relocating most of the Asia Cup matches to Sri Lanka in September 2023, citing a lack of security and government approval to play in Pakistan. The Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) wielded its influence within the Asian Cricket Council, resulting in Pakistan hosting only four matches before the tournament shifted to Sri Lanka. However, PCB’s chairman, Zaka Ashraf, signing the hosting agreement at the ICC headquarters signified a positive step, indicating Pakistan’s commitment to retaining the hosting rights for the Champions Trophy.
“PCB management committee chairman Mr Zaka Ashraf was joined by ICC General Counsel Jonathan Hall in the signing of the hosting rights to Pakistan at the ICC headquarters,” the PCB said in a news release.
Pakistan set to break 29-year hiatus of hosting ICC event
Assurances have been made by the PCB to the government regarding comprehensive security measures for visiting international teams during the Champions Trophy. Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar expressed support and cooperation from security agencies in ensuring a successful hosting of the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy. Pakistan’s history of hosting ICC events had faced setbacks, notably due to security concerns following the vicious attacks on the Sri Lankan team, back in 2009, in Lahore.
Consequently, Pakistan missed out on hosting the 2009 Champions Trophy and some matches of the 2011 ODI World Cup. Despite challenges, Pakistan successfully hosted the 2008 Asia Cup, marking the last instance of India playing cricket on Pakistani soil. This latest development marks a promising turn for Pakistan’s cricketing landscape, hinting at a potential return to hosting major ICC tournaments after a significant hiatus since the 1996 ODI World Cup.