BCCI, PCB On Collision Course: Jay Shah Announces Asian Cricket Council ‘Calendar’, Najam Sethi Terms It ‘Unilateral’

The simmering tension between India and Pakistan cricket boards was palpable after PCB chief Najam Sethi took a sarcastic jibe at BCCI secretary Jay Shah for “unilaterally announcing” the Asian Cricket Council’s two year calendar. On Thursday, Shah, in his capacity as ACC chairman announced the 2023 and 2024 itinerary on his twitter handle with the marquee Asia Cup slotted in September this year, though the detailed itinerary and the host country have not been announced yet.

Pakistan is the original host of the Asia Cup this year but the BCCI is not keen on playing there owing to political tension between the two countries.

The then Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja had opposed the BCCI’s stand and even threatened to boycott the 50-over World Cup in India.

Raja’s contention was that the decision to award Pakistan the hosting rights was taken by ACC’s Board of Directors and Shah can’t decide about shifting the tournament.

Sethi, who was perceived to be close to previous Indian board bigwigs, however was sharp in his response after Shah released the calendar in the morning.

“Thank you Jay Shah for unilaterally presenting ACC structure & calendars 2023-24 especially relating to Asia Cup 2023 for which Pakistan is the event host. While you are at it, you might as well present structure & calendar of our PSL 2023! A swift response will be appreciated,” Sethi’s saracasm-laden tweet wasn’t lost on anyone.

The Asia Cup 2023 will be a six-team affair involving India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and a qualifier team.

Sri Lanka are the defending Asia Cup champions in the UAE after they beat Pakistan in the final. The tournament was played in T20 format because of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

With India are set to host the ODI World Cup later this year and the focus of all the participating teams being on the 50-over format, this year’s Asia Cup will be held in that format.

It is understood that India wants the tournament to be shifted to UAE due to existing complex socio-political scenario between cross-border nations but Pakistan’s argument has been if Australia, England and New Zealand can come and play without fear of security, why would they host an event in a neutral country.

BCCI secretary and ACC president Jay Shah, while releasing the calendar for the next two years, said the schedule “signals our unparalleled efforts and passion to take this game to new heights. With cricketers across countries gearing up for spectacular performances, it promises to be a good time for cricket.” A total of 145 ODI and T20I matches will be played during the two-year cycle (between 2023-2024) announced by ACC. There will be 75 games in 2023 and 70 games in 2024.

Also, the Emerging (U23) Asia Cup is back and will be held in the 50-over format in July this year for men and involve eight teams. The tournament next year will be held in December but in T20 format.

The women’s Emerging Asia Cup this year in June will be T20 affair involving eight teams.

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