The Asia Cup cricket tournament is likely to be moved out of Pakistan after the member nations rejected the Pakistan Cricket Board’s proposal to host the event on a ‘hybrid model’, according to news agency PTI.
This decision has come as a major setback to Pakistan, as they were forced to propose an alternative hosting arrangement after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) refused to send the Indian team to Pakistan due to diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
Sri Lanka is now a front-runner to host the six-nation tournament, which is scheduled to take place from September 2-17, due to concerns about extremely humid conditions in the UAE that could lead to injuries to players. It remains to be seen whether Pakistan will participate in the tournament after being snubbed by the other member nations. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is optimistic that there might be a chance for further negotiations on Tuesday in case the member nations have a change of opinion.
Earlier, the PCB had suggested that India play their games in the UAE while Pakistan hosts their matches on home soil. However, the proposal was not well-received. According to an Asian Cricket Council (ACC) source, PCB Chairman Najam Sethi failed to garner support for this idea during a meeting in Dubai. The source added that Sri Lanka was always in support of the BCCI, and now even the Bangladesh Cricket Board is against the proposal.
According to a source from the ACC, the “hybrid model” proposed by the PCB has been consistently deemed unacceptable by the ACC. The source also stated that the budgetary sanctions for such a proposal could never be approved. Furthermore, it was clarified that the issue was not only about Pakistan hosting its own matches but also about the inconvenience caused to the third team (Nepal) in a group consisting of India and Pakistan. This is because the third team would have to travel between Dubai and a city in Pakistan.
Additionally, from a logistical standpoint, it wouldn’t be practical for broadcasters to send separate units to two different countries. Sri Lanka, like the UAE, doesn’t require inter-city flights.
To make the decision official, an Executive Body meeting will need to be convened by the ACC chairman, Jay Shah.
Feature Photo – Hindustan Times