‘India is not in a position to be dictated’: Anurag Thakur hits back at PCB over Asia Cup issue

Union Minister of I&B and Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur, on Thursday, said that the Home Ministery will take a call on India touring Pakistan for the Asia cup next year. His response comes a day after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), requested the Asian Cricket Council to convene an emergency meeting in the wake of BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s statement that India won’t travel to Pakistan for next year’s Asia Cup.

The PCB had also mentioned that if India did not travel across the border for the tournament then such a move could jeopardise Pakistan’s participation in the ODI World Cup.

However, Thakur has said that all big teams, including Pakistan, will take part in the ODI World Cup, which is set to be held in India in 2023.

“All teams who qualify for (World Cup) are invited (to compete on the Indian soil). Many times Pakistan teams have come to India and played. I feel India is not in a position to be dictated (by someone) and there is no reason for anyone to do that. I expect all countries to come and compete,” Thakur told a select gathering of journalists when asked about the controversy that erupted after Shah’s statement.

“Because, you can’t ignore India in any sport. India has contributed a lot to sports, especially cricket. So, the World Cup will be organised next year, and it will grand and historic event. Home ministry will take a decision as there is security concerns in Pakistan. It’s not just cricket. India is not in a position to listen to anyone,” he added.

Earlier, the PCB on Wednesday responded officially to the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and expressing concerns about Shah’s statement, 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.

“After having presided over the ACC meeting during which Pakistan was awarded the ACC Asia Cup with overwhelming support and response from the ACC Board Members, Mr Shah’s statement of shifting of the ACC Asia Cup has clearly been made unilaterally.

“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.

PCB responds to ACC President’s statement

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— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) October 19, 2022

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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