"Politics Over Sport": Ex-Pakistan Board Chief Najam Sethi Slams Asia Cup Scheduling
The Asia Cup 2023 was originally scheduled to be held solely in Pakistan but was partially moved to Sri Lanka.
India's opening encounter against Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023 was washed out, with not a single ball being possible in the second innings. Batting first, India posted a total of 266 runs on the board, with Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan leading the charge. But, the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, etc. could test themselves against Pakistan's batting unit due to persistent rain. As the match was abandoned, former Pakistan Cricket Board chief Najam Sethi called out 'politics' in Sri Lanka's selection as the co-host of the Asia Cup 2023.
Though Pakistan was the designated host for the continental tournament, the Asia Cup was partially shifted to Sri Lanka over the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)'s refusal to send the Indian team to the country.
Among the co-hosts, the name of UAE was also discussed but it was Sri Lanka that the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) agreed on. Seeing rain play spoilsport in the Indo-Pak match, former PCB chairman Najam Sethi lashed out at the Asian body.
"How disappointing! Rain mars the greatest contest in cricket. But this was forecast. As PCB Chair, I urged the ACC to play in UAE but poor excuses were made to accommodate Sri Lanka. Too hot in Dubai, they said. But it was as hot when the Asia Cup was played there last time in Sep 2022 or when IPL was played there in April 2014 and Sep 2020. Politics over sport. Unforgivable!," he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
How disappointing! Rain mars the greatest contest in cricket. But this was forecast. As PCB Chair, I urged the ACC to play in UAE but poor excuses were made to accommodate Sri Lanka. Too hot in Dubai, they said. But it was as hot when the Asia Cup was played there last time in…— Najam Sethi (@najamsethi) September 2, 2023
Pakistan impressed with the ball as they bowled out India for 266 in 48.5 overs, with pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi claiming figures of 4-35. Pakistan would've liked to test themselves against India's bowling attack but no play was possible.
After points were shared, Babar Azam's Pakistan have made the Super Four stage of the tournament, having already beaten Nepal comprehensively in the tournament's opening clash.