The ACC Faces Criticism Over Scheduling of Asia Cup in Sri Lanka
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has come under immense criticism since late Saturday night when the blockbuster clash between India and Pakistan at the Pallekele International Stadium was ruined due to persistent rain throughout the evening in Sri Lanka. Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi was among the first to let out a rant on social media, exposing ACC over their stance on Sri Lanka as the second host alongside Pakistan for the Asia Cup. Later, former India cricketer Virender Sehwag took a sly dig at the ACC for the poor scheduling of the tournament.
ACC Denies PCB’s Request to Hold Tournament in UAE
Rain had interrupted the proceedings of the much-anticipated clash thrice last evening after India opted to bat first under the cloudy Kandy sky. Captain Rohit Sharma got India off to a promising start as the team managed 15 run in the first 26 balls against the dangerous Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah but Pakistan got the breakthrough post the first rain delay with the left-armer removing Rohit and Virat Kohli in successive overs.
Shortly after the second rain delay, India went four down with Haris Rauf removing Shreyas Iyer before Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya revived the innings with their record 138-run stand, the most for an Indian fifth-wicket partnership in an ODI match against Pakistan, and en route the two even got their respective half-century knocks. India eventually were folded for 266 runs in 48.5 overs before rain arrived for the third time and later washed out the second innings leaving the two sides to share a point each.
ACC Stance Questioned by Former PCB Chief
- Najam Sethi revealed that during his tenure as PCB chief he has strongly advised ACC to stage the tournament in the UAE to avoid rain interruptions in Sri Lanka.
- ACC officials denied Sethi’s requests and explained that the weather is too hot in Dubai as seen during the IPL season hosted in 2020.
- Sethi criticized the decision, calling it “politics over sport” and “unforgivable”.
Sehwag Joins in the Criticism
Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag also took a sly dig at ACC over the scheduling of the tournament. He posted: “Baarish ke time toh Chai Pakode rakhte hain yaar. Asia cup bhi rakh diya. (During the rainy season, you have fritters, but they are having Asia Cup as well).”
Controversial Hybrid Model Chosen for Asia Cup
Initially, Pakistan were slated to be the sole host for the 2023 Asia Cup, but BCCI denied sending the Indian team for the tournament owing to political tensions between the two countries. Hence, the Hybrid Model was accepted where UAE was the frontrunner before Sri Lanka was picked as the second host.
The scheduling of the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka despite the likelihood of rain has received widespread criticism from both fans and former cricketers. The ACC’s decision to reject the UAE as a host has faced particular scrutiny, leading to widespread disappointment among cricket enthusiasts.
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