BCCI Secretary and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) president Jay Shah's statement announcing the relocation of Asia Cup 2023 from Pakistan to a neutral venue drew a sharp response from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday. But India's stance is unlikely to change, BCCI officials say.
The unsigned PCB statement called Shah's decision "unilateral" while mentioning that it could potentially impact "Pakistan's visit to India for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 and future ICC Events in India in the 2024-2031 cycle."
"The PCB has noted with surprise and disappointment 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 an 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," the statement said.
India will host the 2023 ODI World Cup followed by the 2026 T20 World Cup, 2029 Champions Trophy and the 2031 ODI World Cup. In its response, PCB suggested Pakistan could boycott these events. "The overall impact of such statements has the potential to split the Asian and international cricketing communities and can impact Pakistan's visit to India for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 and future ICC Events in India in the 2024-2031 cycle," it read.
"The PCB has to date not received any official communication from the ACC on the statement of the ACC President. As such, the PCB has written to the ACC to convene an emergency meeting of its Board as soon as practically possible on this important and sensitive matter."
However, BCCI officials maintain any future travel of the Indian cricket team to Pakistan would be based on what the government of the day decides and that decision would factor in, among other things, the security of the Indian team.
India last visited Pakistan in 2008 for the 50-overs Asia Cup, losing the final to Sri Lanka at Karachi. Bilateral cricket between the two countries has not taken place for more than a decade; the 2012-13 white-ball series was the last played in India. Pakistan has travelled to India for ICC events after that, the 2016 T20 World Cup being the last one hosted by India.
Pakistan has been granted hosting rights of the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy. The tournament's fate could also depend on the stance of the Indian government. "That's quite far away. The government will take the final call and we will abide by it," BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla said after Tuesday's AGM.