LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday warned that Asian Cricket Council (ACC) President Jay Shah “unilaterally” issued statement of Asia Cup 2023 being moved from Pakistan could “split” cricketing communities and “impact” Pakistan’s own plans to travel to India for ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. Shah, who is also the Indian cricket board’s secretary, had a day earlier ruled out the possibility of the Indian cricket team visiting Pakistan for the continental tournament, saying that they had decided to hold the tournament at a neutral venue. “Neutral venue for the Asia Cup is not unprecedented, and we have decided that we will not travel to Pakistan,” Shah was quoted as saying following the 91st annual general meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). “It’s the government that decides over the permission of our team visiting Pakistan, so we won’t comment on that but for the 2023 Asia Cup, it is decided that the tournament will be held at a neutral venue,” he had added. The two nations have fought three wars since being carved out of the subcontinent’s partition in 1947 and are bitter political rivals. Pakistan is scheduled to host the 50-over Asia Cup in the second half of 2023, following which the World Cup will take place in India. The PCB, in a press release issued on Wednesday, expressed its “surprise and disappointment” at Shah’s comments, and called for the ACC to “convene an emergency meeting of its Board as soon as practically possible” as no official communication had been made yet from the ACC to the PCB on the “sensitive matter”. It further highlighted that the statement had been made “without any discussion or consultation” with the Board of the ACC or even the PCB, which was to host the tournament. The PCB also stressed in the press release that Shah’s statements were “made unilaterally” and went against the “philosophy and spirit” of the ACC. It hinted at the consequences of such statements by alerting that they could impact Pakistan’s visit to India for the ICC Cricket World Cup and any future ICC events till 2031. “Pakistan was awarded the ACC Asia Cup with an overwhelming support and response from the ACC Board Members”, the press release from the PCB noted. The statements by Shah were a surprise as Pakistan has successfully hosted cricket teams from both Australia and England this year. The news from India sparked anger in cricket-mad Pakistan, including from former captain Shahid Afridi, who said the players had worked hard over the last two years to develop “excellent comradery”. “Why BCCI Secy will make this statement on the eve of #T20WorldCup match?” he tweeted. “Reflects lack of cricket administration experience in India.” Two of the ICC’s events are scheduled to be held in the region in the next three years: India are the hosts of the 2023 ODI World Cup, and Pakistan are the hosts of the 2025 Champions Trophy. If India cannot play in Pakistan and Pakistan cannot play in India, these tournaments could well be impacted. At the 2016 T20 World Cup, in India, Pakistan required their government’s approval to travel and got it only at the last minute. India’s last trip to Pakistan was for the 2008 Asia Cup, while Pakistan’s last visit to India was for that 2016 ICC event. Due to strained political relations between the two countries, they have not played any bilateral cricket since Pakistan toured India for a white-ball-only series in 2012-13. Both India and Pakistan have in the past pulled out of previous editions of the Asia Cup and the tournament itself has been cancelled on occasion because of poor political and diplomatic relations between the two countries. The last two editions were played in the UAE, which has hosted the tournament four times overall.