'Only Jay Shah can explain why Sri Lanka was accommodated against all reasons, logics' - Najam Sethi opens up on Asia Cup venue debate

Najam Sethi criticized Jay Shah, who also leads the Asian Cricket Council ACC, for the decision to let Sri Lanka host Asia Cup games, despite unfavorable weather conditions

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Nijam Sethi and Jayshah
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Nijam Sethi and Jayshah. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief, Najam Sethi voiced his frustration over the selection of venues for the Asia Cup 2023. He criticized Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary who also leads the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), for the decision to let Lanka host the matches, despite unfavourable weather conditions.

Sethi said that he had proposed alternative venues, including Pakistan and the UAE, due to concerns about the weather in Sri Lanka.

“I pleaded for three approvals in various meetings with Jay Shah and ACC colleagues: Play all matches in Pakistan as international cricket had fully returned to Pakistan. When this was shot down I proposed that we play five matches in Pakistan and eight in the UAE. This also they rejected and hinted at giving the Asia Cup hosting rights to Sri Lanka if we didn’t budge,”  He tweeted.

“Finally, after we said we might not participate, they scheduled four matches in Pakistan and posted the rest in Sri Lanka. We repeatedly pointed out that the rains forecast in SL would adversely impact match results and diminish crowds at stadiums. We also argued that gate receipts from UAE stadiums would be many times more than those in SL given economic considerations," Sethi added.

"When Mr. Shah didn’t agree, a high-level delegation of the Emirates Cricket Board flew to Mumbai to persuade BCCI to play the Asia Cup in UAE as in the past when two IPLs and one ACC ODI event were played there in the same weather conditions. BCCI refused to accept their request. Only Mr Shah can explain why these options were rejected and why Sri Lanka was accommodated against all reason, logic, and rationality. The choice of venues in Sri Lanka was also problematic as we have seen," Sethi concluded.

Despite Sethi's efforts to find a more suitable venue, the ACC decided to stick with Sri Lanka, citing concerns about the extreme heat in the Middle East. Sethi argued that the rains forecast in Sri Lanka would impact match results and reduce stadium attendance. He also emphasized the economic considerations, suggesting that gate receipts from UAE stadiums would be significantly higher.

Sethi further revealed that the Emirates Cricket Board approached the BCCI in an attempt to convince them to host the Asia Cup in the UAE, a location that had successfully hosted cricket events in similar weather conditions in the past. However, the BCCI refused the request.

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