Pakistan says evaluating World Cup participation in India

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Pakistan says evaluating World Cup participation in India

The foreign ministry said it is “evaluating all aspects” of the country’s participation in this year’s 50-overs World Cup in India with bilateral cricket stalled between the South Asian neighbours due to soured political relations.

The two countries have played each other only in multi-team events at neutral venues over the last decade and doubts remain over Pakistan’s involvement in the World Cup in October-November.

Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was among the foreign ministers who travelled to Goa last month for a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting, becoming the first senior Pakistani leader to visit India in nine years.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Pakistan was of the view that “politics should not be mixed with sports”.

“India’s policy of not playing cricket in Pakistan is disappointing,” Baloch said in Islamabad on Thursday.

“We are observing and evaluating all aspects relating to our participation in the World Cup including the security situation for Pakistani cricketers and we will offer our views to the Pakistan Cricket Board in due course.”

Doubts over Pakistan’s participation has meant that the dates and venues for the World Cup are yet to be confirmed with just over three months left before the start of the tournament.

India has already ruled out travelling to Pakistan for the Asia Cup, which is scheduled to begin on Aug. 31. In response, Pakistan threatened to boycott the World Cup if they lose the hosting rights to the Asia Cup.

Looking for a compromise, the Asian Cricket Council said the regional tournament will be hosted in a ‘hybrid model’ with four matches held in Pakistan and the remaining nine in Sri Lanka.