Jay Shah Responds To Najam Sethis Asia Cup Critique: Prioritizing Players Well-Being

In the wake of India’s Asia Cup match against Pakistan being abandoned due to rain, former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Najam Sethi voiced his displeasure, claiming that the decision to host the tournament in Sri Lanka was a result of “poor excuses.” Jay Shah, President of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and BCCI Secretary, has responded to these allegations, shedding light on the reasoning behind the choice of venue and format for the Asia Cup 2023.

Concerns Over Hosting in Pakistan

Mr Shah began by addressing concerns related to hosting the entire Asia Cup in Pakistan, stating that initially, stakeholders, including full members, media rights holders, and in-stadia rights holders, were hesitant due to security and economic issues in Pakistan. He emphasized his commitment to finding a viable solution, mentioning that the ACC had initially accepted the hybrid model proposed by the PCB and ACC management.

“All the full members, media rights holder, and in-stadia rights holders were initially hesitant to commit to hosting the entire tournament in Pakistan. This reluctance stemmed from concerns related to the security and economic situation prevailing in the country.

In my capacity as ACC President, I was committed to finding a viable and mutually agreeable solution. To this end, I had accepted the hybrid model that was proposed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in collaboration with the ACC management. However, it’s important to note that the leadership of the PCB underwent several changes, and this resulted in some back-and-forth negotiations, particularly regarding crucial aspects such as tax exemption and insurance for matches.”

Dynamics of Format

Shah explained that the Asia Cup 2022 edition was played in the UAE in the T20 format. He underlined the significant differences between T20 and 100-over One-day formats, which influenced the decision-making process. High-performance teams from ACC member nations expressed concerns about playing One-day matches in the UAE in September. Such a schedule could potentially lead to player fatigue and increased injury risks, especially right before the ICC Cricket World Cup.

“The Asia Cup 2022 edition was played in the UAE in the T20 format. It’s important to emphasize that the dynamics of a T20 tournament cannot be directly compared to those of a 100-over One-day format. In this context, ACC members received feedback from their respective high-performance teams, expressing concerns about playing One-day matches in the UAE in the month of September. Such a schedule could have potentially led to player fatigue and an increased risk of injuries, particularly right before the all-important ICC Cricket World Cup.

The decision-making process regarding the Asia Cup 2023 format and venue was guided by a sincere desire to prioritize the well-being of the players, as well as the overarching interests of the sport. Ultimately, the goal was to strike a balance that would allow for a competitive and successful tournament while ensuring the health and readiness of the participating teams for ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.”

Sethi’s Perspective

Najam Sethi, on the other hand, had urged the ACC to host the India-Pakistan match in the UAE, citing that similar weather conditions had prevailed during previous tournaments and IPL seasons in Dubai. He expressed disappointment in the decision, attributing it to politics over sport.

Sethi’s Alternative Proposal

Sethi revealed that he had proposed hosting five Asia Cup games in Pakistan and the remaining in the UAE, but this proposal did not find acceptance, despite a high-level delegation from the Emirates Cricket Board trying to persuade the BCCI. He called upon Jay Shah to explain the reasons for rejecting these options in favor of Sri Lanka.

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