On the day it was confirmed that Jay Shah will continue as secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, it was his statement made as Asian Cricket Council president that has caused a flutter.
Shah told reporters on Tuesday that the next Asia Cup will have to be hosted in a neutral venue and not in Pakistan.
That has caused a strong reaction in Pakistan and on Wednesday, the Pakistan Cricket Board issued a statement that strongly suggested that their national team will consider pulling out of next year’s ODI World Cup in India.
Shah said Tuesday that India “can’t” send a team to Pakistan, adding the tournament would be moved to a neutral venue. His announcement caught Pakistan by surprise, with officials warning it could “split” the international cricket community.
Despite being considered one of sport’s greatest rivalries, India and Pakistan have not met on their respective home soil in any version of the game since 2012, and only play each other in multinational tournaments on neutral grounds.
“The Asia Cup will be held at a neutral venue,” Shah told reporters in Mumbai Tuesday following the BCCI’s annual general meeting. “I am saying this as ACC president. We can’t go there (to Pakistan), they can’t come here.”
Shah was speaking on the day Indian cricket had a new president take charge with 1983 World Cup-winning all-rounder Roger Binny succeeding Sourav Ganguly.
PCB reacted strongly on Wednesday.
“The PCB has noted with surprise and disappointment yesterday’s comments made by the ACC President Mr Shah with regards to shifting of next year’s Asia Cup to a neutral venue,” it said.
“The comments were made without any discussion or consultation with the board of the ACC or the PCB, and without any thoughts towards their long-term consequences and implications.”
“The overall impact of such statements have the potential to split the Asian and international cricketing communities,” the PCB added.
The Pakistan board said it has not received any official communication from the ACC, and noted that hosting rights for the 2023 Asia Cup had been given to Pakistan under Shah’s leadership.
Full text of PCB statement:
The PCB has noted with surprise and disappointment yesterday’s comments made by the ACC President Jay Shah with regards to shifting of next year’s Asia Cup to a neutral venue. 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, 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.
The PCB has to date not received any official communication from the ACC on the statement of the ACC President. As such, the PCB has written to the Asian Cricket Council to convene an emergency meeting of its Board as soon as practically possible on this important and sensitive matter.
Pakistan and India are due to meet Sunday in Melbourne in the Twenty20 World Cup but there is a threat of rain around the match.
The news from India sparked anger in cricket-mad Pakistan, where teams have started visiting in recent times. Tours to Pakistan in recent past include that of Sri Lanka (men and women), Australia and England.
The most recent Asia Cup, which was meant to be hosted by Sri Lanka, was also played at a neutral venue in United Arab Emirates.
With AFP inputs