"ICC is toothless tiger.." - Arjuna Ranatunga blasts apex council on IND v PAK reserve day
Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has voiced his criticism of the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh cricket boards for agreeing to designate a reserve day solely for the India versus Pakistan Super 4 fixture in the 2023 Asia Cup. Known for his outspoken nature, Ranatunga questioned the Asian Cricket Council’s decision to host the tournament in Colombo despite the heavy rains, without allocating a reserve day for the other group matches.
In a move considered unprecedented, the Pakistan Cricket Board, technically the tournament hosts, decided at the last minute to include a reserve day for the India-Pakistan match in Colombo due to the anticipated heavy rain. This eleventh-hour decision raised concerns as it seemingly provided an advantage to India and Pakistan, potentially creating an uneven playing field. Ultimately, the match that commenced on Sunday extended into the following day, with India emerging victorious.
Ranatunga, during a media interaction, remarked that both the Asian Cricket Council and the International Cricket Council have shown themselves to be powerless in the face of influential boards.
Decision to add reserve day was unanimous
“I don’t know whether the ICC is acting today or whether we have ICC. They always say ICC is the toothless tiger. They act in a very unprofessional way. I think they are the ones who should look at cricket and protect cricket. Ultimately, cricket should be controlled by the ICC, not by a country or an individual,” he said.
“Now, you take the Asia Cup. You have rules before the tournament, but before that one game (India v Pakistan), they changed the rules. So where is ACC? Where is ICC?” Ranatunga added.
Although the decision drew sharp criticism from Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha and Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwoood, both Sri Lanka Cricket and the Bangladesh Cricket Board later released statements (on Twitter earlier) affirming that the choice to allocate a reserve day was a unanimous one.