‘India can’t dictate how Pakistan will play cricket’- Former Pak players react to BCCI-PCB controversy

After ACC president and BCCI secretary, Jay Shah said that India will not travel to Pakistan for the upcoming edition of Asia Cup 2023 while adding that the tournament would be held in a neutral venue, it brought about sharp reactions from quite a few former Pakistan cricketers.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also issued a strongly-worded statement on the same and threatened to boycott the 2023 ODI  World Cup and wrote: “The PCB has noted with surprise and disappointment of yesterday’s comments made by the ACC President Mr Jay Shah with regards to shifting of next year’s Asia Cup to a neutral venue. The comments were made without any discussion or consultation with the Board of the Asian Cricket Council or the Pakistan Cricket Board (event host) and without any thoughts towards their long-term consequences and implications.”

“This is contrary to the philosophy and spirit for which the Asian Cricket Council was formed in September 1983 – a united Asian cricket body to safeguard the interests of its Members and organise, develop, and promote the game of cricket in Asia,” PCB said in a letter they posted on social media.

Now, former Pakistan captain and fast bowler Waqar Younis slammed the BCCI and accused the Indian board of “damaging” Pakistan cricket.

I don’t think ye cricket board ka faisla hai. Misbah ne kaha tha ki this is not cricket board, this is coming from the top. Unki badi simple policy hai ki Pakistan ke saath nahi khelna, Pakistan ko tour nahi karna, especially kyunki cricket aakhon me aati hai, zyada log pasand karte hain. (I don’t think this is the Indian cricket board’s decision. Misbah had said earlier that this was coming from the top. They have a simple policy that they don’t want to play against Pakistan or tour the country, because cricket is watched by many),” Younis said during a discussion on A Sports.

“They want to damage Pakistan, as simple as that. Pakistan should take a stand, and I think PCB gave a good statement. We have to take care of Pakistan cricket, and we have to look after our dignity and respect because that is more important than playing cricket with them. We will see what happens over the next few days,” the former Pakistan speedster added.

Former Pakistan speedster Wasim Akram said, “India can’t dictate how Pakistan will play cricket. “I am all for political differences and I can’t say what is happening on the political front.”

“People need to speak to each other. Jay Shah should have convened a meeting where other boards could have shared their views. After all the ACC itself has awarded Pakistan, the rights of the Asia Cup.”

Another former Pakistan player, Salman Butt, took on the ICC and questioned its powers on his YouTube channel.

“Firstly tell me, does ICC even exist? Is it neutral? Is there no influence there? Is India not the heavyweight there because they bring more financial backup to ICC?,” said Butt.

“Jab aisa hota hai, tab time to time you see muscle. Jahan se revenue aata hai, Vahan se vo apni chaahat ke hisaab se decisions liye jaate hain. Poori duniya me hota hai ye. It all depends jab ICC me ye meeting hui thi, Jay Shah hi preside kar rahe the, aur ussi me Pakistan ko award hua tha Asia Cup, uss time unhone kya kaha tha, ye wahi jaanta hai jo uss meeting mein thhe. (You see their muscle on things like these. Those who bring revenue have more power. It happens everywhere. When Jay Shah presided the ICC meeting, it was decided that Pakistan will host Asia Cup. What he said then, is something only those who can attend the meeting can tell),” he added.

What Jay Shah had said?

Shah, who is also the president of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), in his statement more or less ended any possibility of the tournament being held in Pakistan.

“The Asia Cup 2023 will be held at a neutral venue. I am saying this as ACC President. We [India] can’t go there [to Pakistan], they can’t come here. In the past also, the Asia Cup has been played at a neutral venue,” Shah had said after the 91st BCCI annual general meeting in Mumbai, in the presence of new Board president Roger Binny.

While speaking to reporters, he stressed that on the issue of playing with Pakistan, there is a policy in place and the BCCI will follow that. BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla, seated next to Shah, explained that the Board will need government clearance to play Pakistan.

India last travelled to Pakistan for a bilateral series in 2005-06 under the captaincy of current Team India coach Rahul Dravid. However, India did travel to Pakistan in 2008 to compete in the Asia Cup.

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