In a scathing critique of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi has decried the recent India vs. Pakistan clash in the Asia Cup 2023. Sethi, known for his incisive commentary, lamented the outcome of the match that concluded without a result due to inclement weather.
Taking to social media, Sethi took a direct shot at Jay Shah, the current head of the ACC. He disclosed that he had vehemently urged the ACC to relocate the remaining Asia Cup matches to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) instead of Sri Lanka. However, the ACC, under Shah’s leadership, held firm in their decision to maintain Sri Lanka as the host nation, citing concerns over the scorching Middle Eastern climate.
Sethi further asserted that the ACC’s reluctance to select the UAE as a co-host for the Asia Cup after India declined to play their matches in Pakistan was a glaring example of political maneuvering within the cricketing body. He branded the choice to have Sri Lanka as the tournament host as “unforgivable,” emphasizing that the UAE had previously hosted the Asia Cup in 2022 under similarly hot conditions. He also pointed out instances when the Indian Premier League (IPL) was held in Dubai in 2014 and 2020, showcasing that the climate was not a valid excuse.
In a veiled criticism aimed at Jay Shah, who also serves as the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sethi highlighted India’s refusal to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup matches. This decision by India left the PCB to host only four matches of the tournament, a move that did not sit well with the Pakistani cricketing authority.
Despite India’s absence from the Asia Cup, the Babar Azam-led Pakistani side is slated to travel to India for the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023, set to take place in October and November.
The rain-marred India vs. Pakistan encounter during the Asia Cup 2023 saw only one innings played, with persistent showers preventing the chase from commencing. India batted first after winning the toss, managing a total of just 266 runs in their innings. Rain disruptions plagued even this innings, underscoring the challenging weather conditions in Kandy, Sri Lanka. According to Sethi, these weather conditions had been discussed during the ACC’s deliberations to select the tournament’s venue.
This unfolding cricketing drama casts a shadow over the sport, bringing to the forefront the interplay of politics within the cricketing arena. Sethi’s candid remarks serve as a stark reminder that the essence of cricket must not be overshadowed by external influences.