Najam Sethi slams Asia Cup scheduling after Pallekele washout

Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi has slammed the Asia Cup scheduling after the Indo-Pak match washout at Pallekele, saying his suggestion to play in the UAE was turned down and “poor excuses” were made to accommodate Sri Lanka.

Sethi, who took over on an interim basis after Ramiz Raja was sacked as PCB chairman last year, expressed his frustration after the much-anticipated game between India and Pakistan was abandoned due to rain on Saturday.

Taking a dig at the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), Sethi wrote on X, “How disappointing! Rain mars the greatest contest in cricket. But this was forecast. As PCB Chair, I urged the ACC to play in UAE but poor excuses were made to accommodate Sri Lanka.

“Too hot in Dubai, they said. But it was as hot when the Asia Cup was played there last time in Sep 2022 or when IPL was played there in April 2014 and Sep 2020. Politics over sport. Unforgivable!”

Sri Lanka was added as co-hosts alongside original tournament hosts Pakistan under a hybrid model after India refused to play their Asia Cup matches across their western border owing to geopolitical tension between the two countries.

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Under the hybrid model, four games are scheduled in Pakistan, and the rest in Sri Lanka.

Last year’s Asia Cup was held in the UAE around the same window, but was played in the T20 format, with matches scheduled in the evening. The Indian Premier League, too, was played in the UAE in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the match on Saturday, only one innings was possible and India were bowled out for 266 in 48.5 overs. There were a couple of stoppages in the Indian innings too, and the toss was also delayed.

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