COLOMBO: Former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga has lashed out at the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) silence over the addition of a reserve day for the recent Asia Cup Super 4 match between India and Pakistan.
The decision was made by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and the tournament’s official hosts Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) due to fears of the high-profile match being washed out given the inclement weather in Colombo.
Such situation did arrive and the clash was played over two days. However, no such adjustments were made for other matches of the tournament’s stage.
According to Ranatunga, the International Cricket Council should have jumped into call out the decision, which he believed was unfair.
“I think they are the ones who should protect cricket,” Ranatunga was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency on Friday. “Ultimately cricket should be controlled by the International Cricket Council and not by a country.
“In Asia Cup, you had rules and you changed rules for one game. So where is the Asian Cricket Council? Where is the International Cricket Council?”
Taking another dig at the sport’s global governing body, which he called a “toothless tiger”, the former batter said he feared the ICC will bend rules for the India-Pakistan game at the upcoming World Cup.
Ranatunga was of the view that the ICC was helpless before the Indian cricket board and its higher officials.
“So I will not be surprised if for World Cup, they have a separate rule for Indo-Pak game,” he said. “India is powerful no doubt but then International Cricket Council officials are quite comfortable, happy putting coat and tie and hanky and going to meetings.”
Ranatunga feared what happened at the ongoing Asia Cup will bring eventual destruction for cricket and expressed disappointment over former players staying silent for “bucks”.
“I am not very comfortable when you have a tournament, where you change rules for one team. You are looking at a disaster in the future,” the World Cup winning skipper fumed.
There were predictions for rain in Colombo during the Asia Cup, and Ranatunga criticised the ACC for not exploring venues outside the city such as Hambantota to conduct the Super 4 and final matches.
“Why did they play in Colombo when you have places like Hambantota? That ground was built to play cricket during the rainy season. And you come to Colombo to play in the Asia Cup. What is the ACC doing?” said Ranatunga.
Ranatunga said world cricket should not be governed by one board or individual, and cited the Asia Cup scheduling issue as a case in point.
“Why do the other countries allow that [poor scheduling] to happen? Because the BCCI is powerful, or one particular person is powerful. No, it can’t happen like that. They should have given an extra day for all the games if that was the case.”
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2023