In an unprecedented move, PCB announces reserve day for India-Pakistan clash in Asia Cup
In an unprecedented move that is going to raise plenty of eyebrows and add more chaos to the ongoing Asia Cup, hosts Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced that a reserve day has been allotted for the India-Pakistan game in Colombo on Sunday – the only match in the Super 4 stage to get that treatment.
Potential Advantage for India and Pakistan
It could result in one of these two teams gaining an unfair advantage over Sri Lanka and Bangladesh by picking up two points on the extra day, as opposed to a point each in case of a washout on the first day of the contest, to seal their spot in the final. It is unprecedented to change playing conditions mid-way through a tournament for just one fixture.
Notification to the Indian Team
The Indian Express understands that as soon as the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) confirmed that the Super 4 stage will remain in Colombo – where heavy rains have put a question mark over the India-Pakistan Super 4 match, the Indian team was informed about the reserve day for the game.
“A reserve day has been incorporated for the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4’s match between India and Pakistan scheduled to take place on 10th September at Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo. If adverse weather suspends play during the Pakistan vs India game, the match will continue on 11th September from the point it was suspended,” the PCB said in a release.
Pressure from Broadcasters
It is understood that there was pressure from broadcasters to have a reserve day in place, particularly after the group-stage fixture between India and Pakistan, which brings in huge ad revenue, was washed out in Pallekele last Saturday. With the weather expected to get better from Monday afternoon, a reserve day has been drafted into the schedule.
Disadvantage for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh
The Sri Lanka-Bangladesh fixture, which is scheduled to take place at the R Premadasa Stadium on Saturday, is also under a cloud of rain threat. But with India-Pakistan taking place on Sunday, they have been denied the luxury of a reserve day.
Reactions from Coaches
“Little surprised when I first heard,” Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood said about ACC’s decision to have different playing conditions. “But at the same time, we are not the organisers of the competition so not a lot we can do about that. To be honest, it will be a problem if the reserve day then provides points to the teams and not someone else, but nothing we can do about it so we keep preparing and do the best we can,” the Englishman added.
It was a sentiment that even Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha echoed, as he said that the decision was not taken after consultation with the other teams. “I haven’t seen this kind of thing in another tournament… this changing rules in the middle of the tournament. There is a technical committee (in Asia Cup) represented by every participating country. They might have decided it for some other reason. It is not ideal, and we also would have liked to have an extra day,” he said.
Controversies in the Asia Cup
This is the latest controversy that the ongoing Asia Cup has witnessed. Starting from venue changes to differences in adopting a hybrid model and a second host country, the tournament saw plenty of drama even before it started. And after the group-stage match between India and Pakistan was washed out, there were even discussions about taking the tournament out of Colombo and play it in Hambantota. But, the ACC stuck to the original schedule despite heavy rain forecast for the weekend matches that include Sri Lanka- Bangladesh on Saturday and India-Pakistan on Sunday. It elicited sharp criticism from PCB, who targeted the ACC for picking Colombo as a venue.
There were frequent spats between BCCI secretary Jay Shah and former PCB chairman Najam Sethi. When the BCCI put its foot down saying its team wouldn’t go to Pakistan, PCB first offered to host a part of the tournament, and then the whole of it, in the UAE. But the BCCI said it would be too hot there and as a result, a major portion of the tournament is being played in Sri Lanka, with Pakistan having to travel extensively between the two countries.
Apart from having back-to-back matches on Saturday and Sunday, India-Pakistan and India-Sri Lanka will be on consecutive days, if the first match goes into the reserve day. In simple terms, it appears that matches other than the India-Pakistan fixture have been disregarded.
It is understood that efforts would be made to complete the match on the original day, even if it means a curtailed contest. If it goes into the reserve day, the game will continue from where it ended on Sunday.