Former Sri Lankan cricket captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, has made scathing remarks about the scheduling decisions and the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) leadership in the context of the Asia Cup 2023. In a recent statement to the Indian Express, Ranatunga criticized the decision to allocate a reserve day solely for the India-Pakistan Super 4 match amidst concerns about poor weather conditions. He questioned the role of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and the ICC in safeguarding the integrity of the game.
Former Sri Lanka Captain Arjuna Ranatunga said “ICC is toothless and unprofessional in front of a powerful board. Even SLC and BCB surrendered for changing rules for one team. It’s because BCCI or one particular person is powerful. Sharad Pawar and Dalmiya were focussed on_ pic.twitter.com/aKoHPtRuG6
— Himanshu Pareek (@Sports_Himanshu) September 15, 2023
The Reserve Day Controversy
Ranatunga began his critique by addressing the contentious decision to introduce a reserve day for the India-Pakistan Super 4 fixture. He expressed concern that this last-minute change gave an unfair advantage to the two cricket giants, India and Pakistan while undermining the tournament’s level playing field. The match eventually extended to the reserve day, with India emerging victorious. “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,” Ranatunga said.
Ranatunga raised concerns about the changes made to tournament rules for the benefit of one team, referring to the India-Pakistan match. He warned that such practices could lead to a disaster in the future and questioned the role of the ACC and ICC in permitting such changes. The former captain also expressed disappointment that few cricketers have openly criticized these rule changes, attributing their silence to financial motivations.
ICC’s Toothless Tiger Status
“ICC is a toothless tiger. They act very unprofessionally. I think they are the ones who should protect cricket. Ultimately cricket should be controlled by ICC and not by a country. In Asia Cup, you had rules and you changed rules for one game. So where is ACC? Where is ICC?. So I will not be surprised if for World Cup, they have a separate rule for Indo-Pak game. This is bad. India is powerful no doubt but then ICC officials are quite comfortable, happy putting coat and tie and hanky and going to meetings,” he added.
In Ranatunga’s view, the ICC, the governing body of international cricket, appears to be a “toothless tiger” when it comes to dealing with powerful cricket boards. He emphasized that cricket should be overseen by the ICC, not influenced by individual countries or boards, such as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Ranatunga was quoted by the Indian Express as saying, “ICC is a toothless tiger. They act very unprofessionally. I think they are the ones who should protect cricket.”
Venue Selection Criticism
The choice of Colombo as the host city for the Asia Cup also faced Ranatunga’s scrutiny. He questioned why the ACC did not consider venues like Hambantota, which are better suited to handle matches during the rainy season. Ranatunga criticized the decision to host the tournament in Colombo when more suitable options were available.