Asia Cup 2023: Reserve day only for India-Pakistan Super 4s game causes an uproar

K.L. Rahul attends a practice session head of the Asia Cup 2023 one-day international match against Pakistan on September 10.

K.L. Rahul attends a practice session head of the Asia Cup 2023 one-day international match against Pakistan on September 10.
| Photo Credit: AFP

It’s my bat, I will set the rules. The rule that’s been the mantra in gully cricket seems to have been adopted for the Asia Cup as well, with a reserve day having been added for only one of the six Super 4s matches — between India and Pakistan.

That a reserve day will be added for the marquee clash was being whispered ever since the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) decided against moving the remaining matches from Colombo to Hambantota. On Friday, a notification issued for ticket-holders confirmed the move.

“If adverse weather suspends play during the Pakistan vs India game, the match will continue on September 11 from the point it was suspended,” stated the advisory, issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board, the tournament host. “In such an eventuality, ticket-holders are advised to hold on to their match tickets which will remain valid and will be utilised for the reserve day.”

When the tournament fixtures were announced, only the final had a reserve day.

Moreover, only one game having a reserve day may result in undue advantage for both the teams should weather play spoilsport for most of the Super 4s.

A competitive tournament — irrespective of the discipline and the level, even amateurish — is always played with the same rules for all the teams involved. No wonder that the other two teams in the tournament — Bangladesh and Sri Lanka — are disturbed with the development.

However, the head coaches of both the camps preferred to be cautious, considering the might of the ACC — whose president Jay Shah is also the BCCI secretary and the PCB is the host. “I have not seen anything like this earlier. This is something new. It’s not ideal,” said Chandika Hathurusingha, the Bangladesh head coach, on Friday, ahead of his team’s clash against Sri Lanka.

“We would love to have an extra day as well. Other than that I don’t have much comment because they (technical committee) have made a decision. There is a technical committee (in Asia Cup) represented by every participating country. They might have decided it with some other reason.”

Chris Silverwood, Hathurasingha’s Sri Lanka counterpart, was a little more conservative. “Little surprised when I first heard, but at the same time we are not the organisers of the competition so not a lot we can do about that,” Silverwood said.

“To be honest, it will be a problem if the reserve day then provides points to the teams and not someone else, but nothing we can do about, so we keep preparing and do the best we can.”

The Hindu gathers that the ACC acceded to the broadcaster’s demand after declining to shift the event out of Colombo. While the fans can hope for a likelihood of a full game — or at least a result — due to the reserve day, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh camps will keep their fingers crossed that the reserve day doesn’t turn out to be decisive in deciding the finalists.

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