Asian Cricket Council (ACC) President Jay Shah has provided justification for relocating the Asia Cup 2023 to Sri Lanka, citing concerns about Pakistan’s security situation and economic challenges. This decision has stirred controversy within cricketing circles and continues to be a subject of debate.
As persistent rains in Sri Lankan host cities disrupt Asia Cup fixtures, ACC and Jay Shah have faced criticism over the move to the island nation. Even the group-stage match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan fell victim to the relentless rainfall.
With today’s match between Pakistan and Bangladesh marking the end of the Pakistan leg of the tournament, the remainder of the matches will be exclusively held in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, the looming threat of heavy rains could potentially impact the upcoming Super 4 matches.
In defence of his decision, Shah, who also serves as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary, explained that hosting matches in Sri Lanka became necessary due to the reluctance of other teams to play in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to extreme heat conditions.
Shah stated, “All the full members, media rights holders, and in-stadium rights holders initially hesitated to commit to hosting the tournament in Pakistan. This reluctance stemmed from concerns related to the security and economic situation prevailing in the country.”
He emphasised that the decisions were made considering the players’ well-being, particularly ahead of India’s ICC World Cup 2023. Shah highlighted the efforts to balance hosting a competitive tournament and ensuring the health and readiness of participating teams for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. This underscores the complex challenges faced in managing cricket events in the region.