The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday responded officially to the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), after BCCI secretary Jay Shah had said that the Asia Cup 2023 which is to be hosted by Pakistan will be shifted to a neutral venue.
Bilateral series against Pakistan or touring the neighbouring country have been prickly issues and the BCCI needs government approval before going ahead.
Expressing concerns about Shah’s statement, the PCB wrote: “The PCB has noted with surprise and disappointment of yesterday’s comments made by the ACC President Mr 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 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 its Members and organise, develop, and promote the game of cricket in Asia,” PCB said in a letter they posted on social media.
What Jay Shah had said?
Shah, who is also the president of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), in his statement more or less ended any possibility of the tournament being held in Pakistan.
“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, the Asia Cup has been played at a neutral venue,” Shah had said after the 91st BCCI annual general meeting in Mumbai, in the presence of new Board president Roger Binny.
While speaking to reporters, he stressed that on the issue of playing with Pakistan, there is a policy in place and the BCCI will follow that. BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla, seated next to Shah, explained that the Board will need government clearance to play Pakistan.
India last travelled to Pakistan for a bilateral series in 2005-06 under the captaincy of current Team India coach Rahul Dravid. However, India did travel to Pakistan in 2008 to compete in the Asia Cup.