Former Indian all-rounder and head coach Ravi Shastri opined that there was no chance for the Asia Cup 2023 to be conducted in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to the extreme weather conditions. The Middle East was in consideration to host the tournament, but it was quashed down by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), which opted and remained true with Sri Lanka instead.
The biggest talking point of the Asia Cup 2023 has been the persistent rain, which has prevented India from playing a complete game of cricket so far. Their group-stage encounters against Pakistan and Nepal were severely affected by rain while their first Super Four game has also extended into the allotted reserve day.
The last couple of editions of the continental tournament have been hosted by the UAE, which includes the 50-over version in 2018. Heat did play a crucial factor with Hardik Pandya famously sustaining a back injury under the extreme conditions.
"If you actually see at this moment in time, there is rain everywhere. You know, there was talk about that it could have been played in Dubai. Dubai is so hot… for a 50-over game, these players would have been finished. It's unforeseen circumstances, it’s a calamity that can happen naturally. You look at Bangladesh, northern India, Mumbai, coastline of India… there is rain everywhere."
"I know it’s frustrating for the players and the fans back home in India, Pakistan and worldwide as well but this thing you cannot control. A lot of people are criticising a lot of people regarding the Asia Cup but this decision has been made. There is not point criticising now, nothing can happen. A lot of people say it should have been played in Pakistan. We can discuss this topic but it's not our job," Akram stated.
There were speculations surrounding a potential change in venue for the Super Four stage considering the forecast for the ongoing week in Colombo. While the UAE was ruled out as an option, the ACC also decided to not shift the tournament to either Dambulla or Hambantota.
"Such a schedule could have potentially led to player fatigue and an increased risk of injuries" - Jay Shah on why the UAE was not considered for the Asia Cup 2023
Asian Cricket Council president Jay Shah was questioned by former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman as to why Asia Cup 2023 was not played in the UAE when the nation has successfully hosted it in the past along with multiple editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as well.
In response, Jay Shah said:
“The Asia Cup 2022 edition was played in the UAE in the T20 format. It’s important to emphasize that the dynamics of a T20 tournament cannot be directly compared to those of a 100-over One-day format. In this context, ACC members received feedback from their respective high-performance teams, expressing concerns about playing One-day matches in the UAE in the month of September."
"Such a schedule could have potentially led to player fatigue and an increased risk of injuries, particularly right before the all-important ICC Cricket World Cup,” he added.
Will rain continue to have the final say as the Asia Cup 2023 heads towards the crucial fixtures? Let us know what you think.