In an exclusive revelation, Jay Shah, BCCI Secretary, has elucidated the pivotal factors underpinning the decision by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) to relocate the Asia Cup 2023 away from Pakistan. The tournament was initially scheduled to transpire in Pakistan but faced objections from various quarters. As a result of extensive negotiations, a hybrid model was devised, involving Pakistan hosting four matches and Sri Lanka hosting nine (inclusive of all India matches). Nevertheless, with rainfall adversely affecting matches held in Sri Lanka, organizers faced backlash for the change in the tournament’s location. Notably, Najam Sethi, former Pakistan Cricket Board Chief, criticized Jay Shah for disregarding his plea to hold matches in the UAE.
In response to the ongoing controversy, Jay Shah provided insight into the reasoning behind moving Asia Cup 2023 out of Pakistan.
He stated, “Initially, all full members, media rights holders, and in-stadia rights holders exhibited hesitancy to commit to hosting the entire tournament in Pakistan. This apprehension stemmed from concerns regarding the nation’s security and economic circumstances.”
“As ACC President, I was dedicated to discovering a feasible and mutually agreeable resolution. To this end, I had accepted the hybrid model, proposed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in conjunction with ACC management. However, it is imperative to acknowledge that the PCB’s leadership underwent multiple changes, leading to protracted negotiations, particularly concerning pivotal aspects such as tax exemptions and match insurance.”
Shah further underscored the nuances between the T20 format of the Asia Cup 2022 edition, which took place in the UAE, and the 100-over One-day format of Asia Cup 2023. Feedback from high-performance teams within ACC member nations expressed concerns about holding One-day matches in the UAE during September. This scheduling could potentially have caused player fatigue and heightened injury risks, especially leading up to the ICC Cricket World Cup.
“The decision-making process regarding the Asia Cup 2023 format and venue was guided by a sincere commitment to prioritize player well-being and the overarching interests of the sport. Ultimately, the aim was to strike a balance that would permit a competitive and successful tournament while ensuring the health and preparedness of participating teams for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.”