‘Players didn’t want to go Hambantota. Find out the real story’: Gavaskar fumes | Cricket

The Colombo leg of Asia Cup 2023 starts on Saturday with Sri Lanka taking on Bangladesh at the R Premadas Stadium followed by the big-ticket India vs Pakistan match on Sunday. But there is a big question mark over these two matches due to the poor weather forecast of Colombo. In fact, there is heavy rain predicted throughout this weekend and the next week where India will play Sri Lanka, followed by Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, India vs Bangladesh and then the final on September 17.

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates taking the wicket of India's Ravindra Jadeja during the Asia Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan in Pallekele, Sri Lanka on Saturday, Sep. 2. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)(AP)
Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates taking the wicket of India’s Ravindra Jadeja during the Asia Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan in Pallekele, Sri Lanka on Saturday, Sep. 2. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)(AP)

Due to the tight schedule, a reserve day could only be allotted to the India vs Pakistan match and the final. While this decision has already been met with heavy criticism, there is a different question that needs to be answered. Why were the matches not shifted out of Colombo? There were heavy discussions after the group stages. In fact, if reports are to be believed, the Asian Cricket Council almost made up their mind to shift the rest of the tournament to Hambantota instead of Colombo. But a couple of hours later, the decision was reversed and the ACC announced that there would be no change in the original schedule.

Why did this happen? Legendary India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar said in all probability it was the players who did not want to play the matches in Hambantota, which does not have the luxury and facilities of Colombo.

“Well, somebody should find the real story. It appears from cricketing points, that it was probably the players who didn’t want to go to Hambantota.”So administrators, had to at last moment, change it from Hambantota to Colombo despite knowing Colombo could have pretty dicey weather,” Gavaskar told ‘Sports Today’.

But the former India captain clarified that he was not referring to players from any particular country.

“When I meant players, I didn’t mean players of one team but players of all teams that were supposed to be there,” he said.

‘Easy to point fingers at administrators’: Gavaskar

Gavaskar also sympathized with administrators as often they get the rough end of the stick from the fans, who are missing out on quality cricket due to inclement weather.

“It is easy to point fingers at administrators and they can be easily made scapegoats. It is really important to find out why despite knowing that the weather forecast of Colombo won’t be good, matches were not held in Hambantota,” he said.

Gavaskar is not averse to modern-day players having a say in the scheduling of matches. Still, he also wants them to be accommodating when there are some unforeseen circumstances, like poor weather in this case. Rain can also play spoilsport on September 10 when India are scheduled to face Pakistan for the second time in the tournament. The first game between the arch-rivals was called off due to rain.

“Obviously, you want players to be in good mental space. The gym facilities and practice facilities need to be good but at times like these, we need to look at the larger picture and Hambantota had less chance of rain and Colombo has more chance of rain.

“And when I say experimentation, it is a chance to prepare for the World Cup. But by no means am I saying that Asia Cup is less important. We also need to win the tournament,” he said.

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