The former Pakistan captain has strongly criticized the scheduling of the Asia Cup, and in a scathing statement, he accused the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) of neglecting the well-being of Babar Azam’s men. He expressed his frustration over what he perceives as a lack of consideration for the players’ physical and mental health in the scheduling process.
The schedule for the Asia Cup was officially unveiled on Wednesday, marking a significant moment in the tournament’s history as it is set to be jointly hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka for the first time. The decision to have two host nations reflects the importance and popularity of the tournament within the Asian cricketing community.
According to the schedule, India’s matches in the Asia Cup will be exclusively held in Sri Lanka, signaling a strategic move by the organizers to maximize the fan base and support for the Indian cricket team in the island nation.
On the other hand, Pakistan, as one of the host countries, will have the privilege of hosting several key matches, including encounters with Nepal and one of the qualifying teams in the Super Fours stage, at their home soil. This decision is likely to enhance the excitement and anticipation of local fans who will have the opportunity to witness high-profile matches in their own country.
The Asia Cup schedule for the blockbuster clash between India and Pakistan has been eagerly awaited, and it has been confirmed that the match will be held in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Both teams have been drawn in Group A, setting the stage for an exciting and highly anticipated encounter.
However, there is a notable disparity in the scheduling for the two teams. While Rohit Sharma’s Indian team will play all of their Group A matches in Sri Lanka, the Pakistani team will have a different itinerary. Pakistan’s opening match in Group A will take place in Lahore, their home soil, before they travel to Sri Lanka for the crucial clash against India. The time gap between these two matches is merely two days, potentially putting added pressure on the team to adapt quickly to different playing conditions and travel logistics.
Moreover, if Pakistan qualifies for the Super Fours stage, they will return to their home ground in Lahore for the opening match of that round before heading back to Sri Lanka again. This frequent back-and-forth travel between their home country and the island nation could pose challenges for the Pakistani team in terms of fatigue and adjustment to varying pitches and climates.
Former Pakistan captain Butt expressed his concerns about the Asia Cup schedule, describing it as “very strange” and highlighting the disparity between Pakistan and Sri Lanka’s match fixtures. He pointed out that Pakistan’s opening match will be played on their home soil, but then they will have to travel to Sri Lanka for their second match. In contrast, Sri Lanka will have the advantage of playing their first match at home, and when they have to travel to Pakistan for their second game, they will enjoy a much longer 4-5 days gap between matches.
The statement reflects deep concern and disappointment from the perspective of the former Pakistan cricket captain. He emphasizes that as the original host nation of the Asia Cup, Pakistan should have been provided with more favorable scheduling conditions, particularly with regard to the time gap between matches.
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) president, Jay Shah, has made it clear that the position of Pakistan as A1 and India as A2 in the Asia Cup will be unaffected by their performance in the first round. This means that regardless of the outcome of their matches in the initial stage, Pakistan will retain the top position (A1), and India will remain in the second position (A2).
In the event that either Pakistan or India fails to qualify for the Super Fours stage, Nepal will step in to take their place, ensuring that the Super Fours stage remains competitive and includes top teams from the region.
In Group B of the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka will retain the top position (B1), and Bangladesh will remain in the second position (B2) regardless of their performance in the first round matches. The positions of both teams will not change based on their results in the initial stage of the tournament.