Jay Shah’s statement can ‘split’ cricketing communities: PCB urges emergency ACC meet

Jay Shah, who made the statement after the BCCI AGM on Tuesday, also happens to be the ACC president.

Lahore: A ‘disappointed’ Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday requested the Asian Cricket Council to convene an emergency meeting in the wake of BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s statement that India won’t travel to Pakistan for next year’s Asia Cup.

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In its first official response to Shah’s statement that India would like to play the continental tournament at a neutral venue and not tour Pakistan, the PCB said “such statements can spilt the Asian and international cricket communities” and impact Pakistan’s visit to India for the 2023 World Cup.

Shah, who made the statement after the BCCI AGM on Tuesday, also happens to be the ACC president.

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“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 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 PCB said.

Pakistan has been allotted hosting rights for the Asia Cup which will be held ahead of the ODI World Cup in India in October-November.

The T20 Asia Cup held last month had to be shifted from Sri Lanka to the UAE amid the economic crisis in the island nation.

The 2018 Asia Cup, scheduled to be held in India, was moved to the UAE after the BCCI couldn’t procure clearance from government security agencies to host Pakistan.

India and Pakistan only play each other in Asian and ICC events due to the political tensions between the two countries. India last toured Pakistan in 2008 while Pakistan’s last series in India came in 2012-13.

The PCB said Shah’s statement was surprising and disappointing at the same time.

“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 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,” the PCB said.

The officials from both the PCB and BCCI will be confronted with the issue at the International Cricket Council’s board meeting in Melbourne next month. The ICC is yet to comment on the matter.

A top official from an Asian cricketing nation hoped the matter would be sorted amicably and said there is no Asia Cup without India or Pakistan.

“It is the biggest match of the Asia Cup and with either team missing, the tournament doesn’t make sense. There is a lot of time left, but I hope the issue is sorted. The neutral venue is the best option if the BCCI decides against sending its team to Pakistan,” the official told PTI.

The PCB is also irked because international cricket has resumed in the country with all top nations like England, Australia, West Indies travelling there to play Test and white-ball series in recent years.

“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 PCB added.

A PCB source told PTI that the board is ready to play hard ball with the BCCI this time around and will approach the ICC during the meeting in Melbourne. The PCB has also threatened to pull of the ODI World Cup in India if the Asia Cup matter is not resolved.

“It would be wrong to say that only Pakistan will be impacted if India and Pakistan don’t play each other in Asia or ICC events. The marquee match creates a sizeable revenue for the ICC and if that doesn’t happen, the other cricketing nations (including the associates) also suffer,” the source said.

The ICC tends to put India and Pakistan in the same group in world events, with the game between the two teams drawing a massive television audience and full house at the stadium.

Both teams open their T20 World Cup campaign against each other on Sunday.

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