The PCB has taken strong exception to Asian Cricket Council (ACC) president, and BCCI secretary, Jay Shah’s statement that the 2023 Asia Cup would be moved to a neutral venue since India were not going to travel to Pakistan. The PCB said the statement was made “unilaterally” and raised the prospect of an “impact” on Pakistan’s participation in the 2023 ODI World Cup as well as ICC events in India in the 2024-2031 cycle.
Saying that it had noted Shah’s comments with “surprise and disappointment”, the PCB said, “The comments were made without any discussion or consultation with the Board of the Asian Cricket Council or the Pakistan Cricket Board (event host) and without any thoughts towards their long-term consequences and implications.
“After having presided over the ACC meeting during which Pakistan was awarded the ACC Asia Cup with an overwhelming support and response from the ACC Board Members, Mr Shah’s statement of shifting of the ACC Asia Cup has clearly been made unilaterally. This is contrary to the philosophy and spirit for which the Asian Cricket Council was formed in September 1983 – a united Asian cricket body to safeguard the interests of the its members and organise, develop and promote the game of cricket in Asia.
“The overall impact of such statements have the potential to split the Asian and international cricketing communities, and can impact Pakistan’s visit to India for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 and future ICC events in India in the 2024-2031 cycle.
Two of the ICC’s events are scheduled to be held in the region in the next three years: India are the hosts of the 2023 ODI World Cup, and Pakistan are the hosts of the 2025 Champions Trophy. If India cannot play in Pakistan and Pakistan cannot play in India, these tournaments could well be impacted.
“The PCB has to date not received any official communication or clarification from the ACC on the statement of the ACC president. As such, the PCB has now requested the Asian Cricket Council to convene an emergency meeting of its Board as soon as practically possible to discuss this important and sensitive matter.”
The ACC has not yet met to discuss the matter, let alone for a decision to be officially taken. The ICC is unlikely to comment on the issue at the moment.
On Tuesday, Shah said at the completion of the latest BCCI annual general meeting, “The Asia Cup 2023 will be held at a neutral venue. I am saying this as ACC President. We [India] can’t go there [to Pakistan], they can’t come here. In the past also, Asia Cup has been played at a neutral venue.”
The new set of BCCI office bearers – president Roger Binny, treasurer Ashish Shelar, and Rajiv Shukla, who was re-elected as board vice-president – were present when Shah spoke to the media.
“We [India] can’t go there [to Pakistan], they can’t come here,” Jay Shah said•Getty Images
Two of the ICC’s events are scheduled to be held in the region in the next three years: India are the hosts of the 2023 ODI World Cup, and Pakistan are the hosts of the 2025 Champions Trophy. If India cannot play in Pakistan and Pakistan cannot play in India, these tournaments could well be impacted. At the 2016 T20 World Cup, in India, Pakistan required their government’s approval to travel and got it only at the last minute.
India’s last trip to Pakistan was for the 2008 Asia Cup, while Pakistan’s last visit to India was for that 2016 ICC event. Due to strained political relations between the two countries, they have not played any bilateral cricket since Pakistan toured India for a white-ball-only series in 2012-13.
Both India and Pakistan have in the past pulled out of previous editions of the Asia Cup and the tournament itself has been cancelled on occasion because of poor political and diplomatic relations between the two countries. The last two editions were played in the UAE, which has hosted the tournament four times overall.