In New Delhi, Asian Cricket Council president Jay Shah explained on Tuesday why they decided to host Asia Cup matches in Sri Lanka. They made this choice because teams were hesitant to play ODIs in the sweltering UAE heat, and there were sudden leadership changes at the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Shah defended this decision and directly addressed comments made by former PCB president Najam Sethi. Sethi had previously suggested that the 2023 Asia Cup should happen in the UAE instead of Sri Lanka, where heavy rainfall was affecting certain areas.
Shah emphasized in a statement that the Asia Cup 2022 took place in the UAE but was in the T20 format. It’s essential to understand that the dynamics of a T20 tournament differ significantly from a 100-over One-day format.
In this context, members of the Asian Cricket Council received feedback from their respective high-performance teams. These teams expressed concerns about playing One-day matches in the UAE during September. Such a schedule had the potential to cause player fatigue and increase the risk of injuries, especially right before the crucial ICC Cricket World Cup.
ACC faced criticism
Fans missed an exciting India-Pakistan match at Pallekele last Saturday due to continuous rain, resulting in both teams earning a point.
Initially, concerns about security and the economy made full members, media rights holders, and in-stadia rights holders hesitant to host the entire tournament in Pakistan.
ACC President Jay Shah embraced the hybrid model proposed by the PCB but noted that leadership changes within the PCB led to negotiations, especially regarding tax exemption and match insurance.
Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag also criticized the ACC for the tournament’s scheduling. Rain disrupted the Asia Cup clash on Saturday, leading to its cancellation. Sethi’s proposal to play in the UAE was rejected, and he believed that “weak reasons” led to hosting the event in Sri Lanka.
Colombo Will Retain Asia Cup 2023 Matches
On Tuesday, the Press Trust of India news agency reported that the ACC had decided to keep the Asia Cup Super 4 and final matches right in Colombo because the weather there was getting better.
There were talks going on for the past few days about moving the Super 4 and final matches to Hambantota due to heavy rains in Colombo.
Before making the decision to stick with Colombo, the ACC talked to Sri Lanka Cricket, the hosts PCB, and the official broadcaster.
The report also mentioned that the broadcasters had difficulties relocating their equipment and staff to Hambantota on such short notice.
SLC had suggested Hambantota as another place for the five Asia Cup Super 4 matches and the final because it hadn’t seen much rain in the past few weeks.
The Sri Lanka-leg of Super 4 starts with India facing Pakistan on September 10 at the R Premadasa Stadium.
Sri Lanka became co-hosts alongside original hosts Pakistan using a hybrid model. This happened because India didn’t want to play matches across their western border due to geopolitical tension between the two countries.
Under this hybrid model, four games were planned in Pakistan, and the rest in Sri Lanka.