With the recent Asian Cricket Council (ACC) announcement that the Asia Cup 2023 will take place in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, cricket fans can now look forward to an exciting cricket spectacle.
India has not featured in a competitive cricket match against Pakistan on Pakistani soil for over 15 years, and that trend seems to keep running after rifts before the ACC announcement. Many commentators, cricket fans, and ex-players believe India’s cricket governing body, the BCCI disrespected the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The months-long saga between the BCCI and PCB seems to have ended, but it still begs the question if the BCCI disrespected Pakistan’s cricket governing body during negotiations.
Did BCCI Disrespect Pakistan Cricket Board?
The ACC announced that Pakistan would host Asia Cup 2023, much to the delight of fans and Pakistan Cricket Board officials. However, the BCCI Secretary and ACC Chairman, Jay Shah, made a U-turn on India’s participation at the event in Pakistan. Shah stated that India would not be attending any event hosted in Pakistan.
The statement from Shah started a rollercoaster of meetings, controversies, counter opinions, and media rounds from PCB and BCCI officials. There were other reports that India wanted the Pakistan hosting rights weakened or revoked before participating in Asia Cup 2023.
Several negative comments and reluctance to compromise is seen as a disrespectful move from the BCCI towards Pakistan and PCB officials.
Reactions Trailing the BCCI’s Stance on Asia Cup 2023
Many prominent current and ex-PCB officials and top cricketers from Pakistan have called out the BCCI on their behavior for several months. Popular names like Khaled Mahmood, Mohammad Amir, and Shahid Afridi all have something to say about the BCCI’s behavior:
Afridi is one of Pakistan’s most popular cricketers of all time and he hasn’t held back in recent months concerning the BCCI’s behavior. He also touched on topics rather controversially about the upcoming ODI World Cup, scheduled to take place in India.
Afridi’s comments came to light after the long-running BCCI – PCB dispute concerning hosting rights and venues for Asia Cup 2023. In his words, he believes Pakistan going on to beat India on their home soil at the ODI World Cup 2023 will give the Men in Blue a “tight slap”.
“I don’t understand why they [the Pakistan Cricket Board] are so adamant and keep saying that we won’t go to India. They need to simplify the situation and understand that an international cricket tournament is happening – take it rather positively; go and play. Tell your boys to get the trophy; the whole nation stands behind you. It’ll not only be a big win for us but a tight slap on the face of BCCI,”
Afridi also believes the PCB-BCCI issue should receive a diplomatic solution; however, he adds that the Men in Green should tour India no matter what happens. He wants Pakistan to win the tournament and send a message to India by winning the trophy. Afridi believes an outright win will show the Falcons can win anywhere, even on hostile Indian territory:
“Go to India, play decent cricket, and claim the win. This is it; we have only this option resorted to ourselves. We are supposed to go there, land back with the World Cup and give them a steer clear message that we can go anywhere and bag the victory,”
Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Khaled Mahmood also shared his opinion on the BCCI-PCB saga:
“The world doesn’t run on ideology and principles; else ICC should show their power and tell India ‘who are you not to go and play Asia Cup in Pakistan?’ But India has great influence on ICC,“
However, he admits that Pakistan will be on the receiving end of any decision that leaves out India from Asia Cup 2023 entirely:
“If we host Asia Cup without India and without their players, corporate sponsorship will all stop. The big money will stop…and it won’t be a glamorous tournament without them. It would be a weak tournament. We will also lose money.
Why Does the BCCI Hold Sway in Asian Cricket?
India is Asia’s biggest cricket country and one of the most decorated teams of all time. The Indian cricket team also attracts millions of viewers per game, making this side a valuable feature in any regional or international tournament. India’s position as a huge revenue generator is a major reason why it holds so much influence in Asian cricket.
Topped with the fact that a BCCI official currently heads the ACC gives Indian cricket greater influence over other teams in the conference. There are several vivid indications that no other cricket board in the ACC can pull off a similar stunt to what India’s BCCI tried leading to Asia Cup 2023.