The Asia Cup 2023, scheduled to be held in Pakistan in February next year, is likely to be canceled due to the ongoing political tensions between India and Pakistan. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reportedly refused to send the Indian team to Pakistan for the biennial event, citing security concerns and diplomatic issues.
BCCI’s stance on Pakistan tour
The BCCI has been adamant that it will not play any bilateral series with Pakistan until it stops sponsoring cross-border terrorism. The BCCI has also maintained that it will not compromise on the safety and well-being of its players and staff. “We have made it clear to the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) that we are not going to Pakistan for the Asia Cup. It is not feasible for us to travel there in the current scenario. We have also suggested that the tournament be shifted to a neutral venue,” a BCCI official quoted as saying by PTI.
“This proposal – to play India’s matches at a neutral venue and the rest in Pakistan – is under discussions within the ACC. At no stage during Thursday’s media interaction, did I give any reference to the ICC or made any remarks on the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, which is scheduled in October. This matter has not been mooted or discussed at any ICC forum so far,” the PCB chief said.
Two weeks ago, Jay Shah said that the council is waiting for input from other participating countries in order to finalize the venue for Asia Cup.
“We are awaiting feedback from other nations to finalise the venue for the 2023 Asia Cup and clarity on the India-Pakistan match,” Shah said during a media interaction.
Team India’s alternative plans
With the Asia Cup 2023 likely to be scrapped, the BCCI plans to organise a five-nation tournament in India in February next year. The tournament will feature India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal as the participating teams. The BCCI hopes this tournament will provide a good platform for the Asian teams to prepare for the ICC World Cup 2023, which will also be held in India.
What the experts say
Many former cricketers and experts have expressed their disappointment over the cancellation of the Asia Cup 2023, which is considered as one of the most prestigious tournaments in the region. They have also criticised the BCCI for its rigid stance on Pakistan and for undermining the spirit of cricket.
“It is very unfortunate that the Asia Cup 2023 is not happening. It is a big loss for Asian cricket and for the fans. I think the BCCI should have shown some flexibility and agreed to play in Pakistan or at least in a neutral venue. Cricket should not suffer because of politics,” former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram said.
On the other hand, some experts have supported the BCCI’s decision and have lauded its efforts to organise a five-nation tournament in India. They have also praised India’s dominance in Asian cricket and have predicted that they will win the tournament easily.
“I think the BCCI has done the right thing by saying no to Pakistan. There is no point in risking the lives of our players and staff in such a hostile environment. The BCCI has also shown its generosity by inviting Nepal to join the five-nation tournament. I think India will win this tournament hands down. They are way ahead of the other teams in terms of skills and experience,” former India coach Anil Kumble said.
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