Former Sri Lanka captain and World Cup winner Arjuna Ranatunga has expressed his disappointment over the scheduling of the Asia Cup 2023, which was held in Colombo amid heavy rains. He accused the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) of being “toothless” and “unprofessional” for changing the rules to favour India and Pakistan.
Reserve Day for India-Pakistan match sparks controversy
The original Asia Cup 2023 schedule had a Reserve Day only for the final. However, due to inclement weather conditions in Colombo, the ACC announced a Reserve Day for the Super 4s match between India and Pakistan on September 10, just a day before the game. The decision was taken after consulting with all the boards at the tournament, according to a statement from Sri Lanka Cricket.
The move raised eyebrows as it gave an advantage to India and Pakistan, who were assured of a full 50-over game, while other teams had to deal with rain interruptions and reduced overs. India defeated Pakistan by 228 runs on the Reserve Day in a one-sided contest.
Ranatunga questions ICC and ACC’s role in cricket
Ranatunga, who is known for his outspoken views, questioned the role of ICC and ACC in protecting cricket and ensuring fair play. He said that both the bodies were acting in an unprofessional way and caving in to the pressures of powerful boards.
“ICC is a toothless tiger. They act very unprofessionally. I think they are the ones who should protect cricket. Ultimately cricket should be controlled by ICC and not by a country or an individual,” he said, as quoted by PTI news agency.
He also slammed the ACC for changing the rules for one game and not for others. He said that it was not fair to change the rules for just one team and that it would lead to a disaster in the future.
“In Asia Cup, you had rules and you changed rules for one game. So where is ACC? Where is ICC? I feel very sad for ICC and ACC because they just want to hold the positions,” he said.
Ranatunga fears rule change for World Cup as well
Ranatunga, using caustic sarcasm, said he would not be surprised if India’s World Cup match against Pakistan at Ahmedabad gets a reserve day. He said that ICC would keep their mouth shut and say ‘OK, do it’. He also said that ICC just talks rubbish and nothing happens.
“I won’t be surprised if they change the rule before the India-Pakistan game (in World Cup). ICC will keep their mouth shut and say ‘OK, do it’. ICC just talks rubbish, nothing happens,” he said.
He also criticised Sri Lanka Cricket and Bangladesh Cricket Board for agreeing to the reserve day decision. He said that both the boards should be thrown out for not standing up for their teams. He said that the players were suffering because of the poor scheduling and rule changes.
“You have India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – four top teams — will keep Afghanistan out. So when they try to change the rules, if the SLC and BCB say: ‘ok, do whatever you want’, they should be thrown out. Who is suffering? It is the players,” he said.