Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Asia Cup 2023 shifted to Sri Lanka due to Pakistan's economic, security situation: Jay Shah

ACC president says other teams showed reluctance to play in UAE due to hot weather

Asian Cricket Council (ACC) President Jay Shah. — BCCI/File
Asian Cricket Council (ACC) President Jay Shah. — BCCI/File 

  • ACC president says other teams showed reluctance to play in UAE.
  • Says everyone was "hesitant" in holding full event in Pakistan. 
  • Jay Shah also says decisions were made while keeping in mind well-being of players. 

Asian Cricket Council (ACC) President Jay Shah defended his decision to schedule the Asia Cup 2023 matches which have been disrupted by constant rain in Sri Lanka. 

According to India Today, Shah — who is also the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary — said that the decision to host matches in Sri Lanka was made after reluctance shown by other teams to play in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to heat. 

ACC and Shah have faced criticism from cricketing circles about the scheduling of the event as Sri Lanka is experiencing heavy rains which is likely to affect the upcoming Super 4 matches.

The group stage match between India and Pakistan was also washed out due to rain.

"All the full members, media rights holders, and in-stadium rights holders were initially hesitant to commit to hosting the entire tournament in Pakistan. This reluctance stemmed from concerns related to the security and economic situation prevailing in the country," Shah said in a statement.

"In my capacity as ACC president, I was committed to finding a viable and mutually agreeable solution. To this end, I had accepted the hybrid model that was proposed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in collaboration with the ACC management. However, it's important to note that the leadership of the PCB underwent several changes, and this resulted in some back-and-forth negotiations, particularly regarding crucial aspects such as tax exemption and insurance for matches.

"The Asia Cup 2022 edition was played in the UAE in the T20 format. It's important to emphasise that the dynamics of a T20 tournament cannot be directly compared to those of a 100-over One-day format. In this context, ACC members received feedback from their respective high-performance teams, expressing concerns about playing One-day matches in the UAE in the month of September. Such a schedule could have potentially led to player fatigue and an increased risk of injuries, particularly right before the all-important ICC Cricket World Cup.”

Shah also said that all the decisions regarding the Asia Cup 2023 were made while keeping in mind the well-being of the players ahead of the ICC World Cup 2023 in India.

"The decision-making process regarding the Asia Cup 2023 format and venue was guided by a sincere desire to prioritise the well-being of the players, as well as the overarching interests of the sport. Ultimately, the goal was to strike a balance that would allow for a competitive and successful tournament while ensuring the health and readiness of the participating teams for ICC Cricket World Cup 2023," Shah concluded.