"If the Asia Cup is not hosted in Pakistan, Pakistan should not play against India at any level, be it ICC events, Asia Cup matches, or even their match on October 23," said former Pakistani batter Kamran Akmal
The recent announcement by BCCI secretary and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) president Jay Shah regarding India's reservation to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2023 has received harsh criticism from several former Pakistani cricketers. Many former Pakistan internationals urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to maintain a strong stance, urging them not to travel to India for the ICC men's World Cup, which will be held next year.
Some have even threatened to boycott the T20 World Cup match in Melbourne on October 23, 2022.
While Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi have already expressed their disappointment, former Pakistan captain Younis Khan and ex-wicketkeeper batter Kamran Akmal have also expressed their disappointment.
The two discussed the issue on ARY News' Har Lamha Purjosh, a popular cricket talk show. They all agreed that even if India declines to participate, the PCB should hold the tournament in Pakistan.
"I think Jay Shah should not have said that, but now that the bullet has been fired, I would ask the PCB to take a firm stance on this issue, just like we did in the past [after New Zealand cancelled Pakistan's tour at the last minute], and as you know, those teams have begun to tour the country," Younis said.
"However, if they [the BCCI] stick to their decision, it should not matter to us if the Indian team does not participate in Asia Cup, and we should consider not travelling to India for the ODI World Cup the following year, nor should we agree to host Asia Cup at a neutral venue," he added.
On October 19, 2022, the PCB issued an official statement in this regard.
"The PCB was surprised and disappointed by yesterday's comments made by ACC President Mr Jay Shah regarding the relocation of next year's Asia Cup to a neutral venue. The comments were made without any discussion or consultation with the Asian Cricket Council's Board of Directors or the Pakistan Cricket Board (event host) and without any consideration for their long-term consequences and implications," the release stated.
Akmal, on the other hand, went a step further and demanded a complete boycott of India, including the upcoming T20 World Cup match on October 23, 2022.
"I believe Jay Shah's statement was unexpected, and since he attended the Pakistan-India game during this year's Asia Cup, he should reserve politics for his opponents and avoid dragging it into sports," said the former wicketkeeper.
"If the Asia Cup is not hosted in Pakistan, Pakistan should not play against India at any level, be it ICC events, Asia Cup matches, or even their match on October 23," he added.
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