The ongoing Asia Cup 2023 has been marred by persistent inclement weather, with the India vs. Pakistan Super Four clash being called off on Sunday and rescheduled for the reserve day. This marks the second time in the tournament that an India-Pakistan match has been affected by rain, with their group clash earlier this month also being washed out in Pallekele. India’s second group B match against Nepal was also curtailed by rain.
Originally scheduled to be played in Pakistan, the event is being held in a hybrid model for the first time in its history due to the BCCI’s refusal to send the Indian team across the border. With weather disruptions impacting match outcomes, questions have arisen as to why the UAE wasn’t chosen as an alternative venue, as was the case last year when the tournament was shifted from Sri Lanka.
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has defended the decision not to play in Dubai, citing the extreme heat in the UAE during this time of the year. He emphasized that playing a 50-over game in such conditions would have been unbearable for the players, especially considering that this year’s Asia Cup is being held in the one-day format, unlike last year.
“If you actually see at this moment in time, there is rain everywhere,” Ravi Shastri stated on Star Sports. “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.”
Pakistan legend Wasim Akram echoed Shastri’s defense, emphasizing that controlling rain is beyond the organizers’ control. He acknowledged the frustration among players and fans but stressed that criticizing the decision at this point serves no purpose.
“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,” Wasim Akram said. “A lot of people are criticizing a lot of people regarding the Asia Cup, but this decision has been made. There is not a point criticizing 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.”
During the tournament, there were reports of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) considering shifting the remaining matches to Hambantota due to more rain being forecast in Colombo.