The Indian Cricket Board Secretary and Asian Cricket Council President Jay Shah’s remarks about India not travelling to Pakistan for Asia Cup 2023 has created a stir in world cricket. PCB countered the statement threatening to pull out of the ODI World Cup scheduled to happen in India next year. PCB chairman Ramiz Raja has been quite vocal about their stand and has criticised Indian Cricket Board several times.
However, former Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Irfan has lashed out at the two boards over the row and has given a rather blunt take on it. Irfan urged both countries to travel to keep good cricketing relations with each other.
“Pakistan should go to India & India should come to Pakistan to play. This increases love between people from both countries. Cricket should be separate from politics. Don’t go with statements that Pakistan won’t come to India, let the Board decide it,” Irfan said in a conversation with ANI.
Ramiz Raja had earlier stated that taking hosting rights away from Pakistan due to political issues isn’t right and threatened to pull out of the Asia Cup if Pakistan’s hosting rights are taken away.
“It’s not as if we don’t have hosting rights and we’re pleading to host it,” Ramiz had said on the sidelines of the ongoing Pakistan-England Test in Rawalpindi on Friday. “We won the rights fair and square. If India doesn’t come, they won’t come. If the Asia Cup gets taken away from Pakistan, maybe we’re the ones that pull out.”
We won the rights fair and square: Ramiz Raja
“We’ve shown we can host great teams,” Ramiz said. “I can understand issues relating to bilateral cricket, but the Asia Cup is a multi-nation tournament, almost as big as the World Cup for the Asian bloc.
After the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus, international cricket gradually resumed in Pakistan with big nations like Australia and England touring the country this year. India and Pakistan last played a bilateral series in 2012-13 in India. India last travelled to Pakistan in 2008 for Asia Cup.
“Why give it to us in the first place and then make all those statements about India not travelling to Pakistan? I accept that India won’t come because the government won’t allow them to come – fine. But to take the Asia Cup away from the host on that basis isn’t right.”