The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) on Friday hit back strongly at Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi "vehemently denying baseless allegations" of unilateral decision-making levelled against its president Jay Shah with regard to the continental body's two-year programme.
The ACC, in its statement, categorically stated that PCB was sent the itinerary on December 22, 2022, along with other member nations but no communication came from the latter's side.
On Thursday, Shah had announced the ACC calendar 2023-24 and pathway structure for the continental body along with ODI Asia Cup slated in September.
However, the calendar didn't have the host country's name as BCCI secretary Shah had already said last October (2022) that the tournament will be shifted out of Pakistan as India won't be able to travel.
Sethi's predecessor Ramiz Raja had then made a counter-threat of pulling out of the ODI World Cup being held in India later this year.
Sethi, who is back in the hot seat, had reacted sharply to BCCI supremo Shah's announcement of ACC itinerary on Twitter.
"Thank you Jay Shah for unilaterally presenting ACC structure and calendars 2023-24 especially relating to Asia Cup 2023 for which Pakistan is the event host. While you are at it, you might as well present structure and calendar of our PSL 2023! A swift response will be appreciated," Sethi's sarcasm-laden tweet wasn't lost on anyone.
The ACC led by Shah, on the day, released a strongly-worded statement calling out the PCB chairman's bluff.
"It has come to our knowledge that PCB Chairman Najam Sethi has made a comment on the ACC President (Shah) unilaterally taking the decision on finalising the calendar and announcing the same. The ACC wants to clarify that it has followed established due process," ACC said in its statement.
In fact, the statement also shared the timeline with the media which effectively means that the PCB chairman was lying.
"The calendar was approved by its Development Committee and Finance and Marketing Committee in a meeting held on December 13th, 2022. The calendar was then communicated to all the participating members individually, including Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), via an e-mail dated December 22nd, 2022," it further stated.
The PCB in the last two weeks didn't seek any modification in the proposed calendar and hence there was a public announcement.
"While responses were received from certain Member Boards, no comments or suggested modifications were received from PCB. In view of the above, Sethi's comments on a social media platform are baseless and are vehemently denied by the ACC," the statement concluded.
The socio-political tension between India and Pakistan has prevented the neighbours engaging in any bilateral cricket since 2012 and India has not visited the country post the 2008 Asia Cup.
The arch-rivals are only pitted against each other in multi-nation events and that too on neutral venues. While the Asia Cup is a multination event, the decision of the ACC Board to award the hosting rights to Pakistan hasn't gone down well with the BCCI.
For PCB, the contention is if Australia, England and currently New Zealand can tour its country then why can't India?
In case of the BCCI, the decision of sending a cricket team to Pakistan will completely be the central government's prerogative.