In a huge setback to Pakistan, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) on Monday decided to move the Asia Cup out of the country after PCB’s proposal to host the tournament on a ‘hybrid model’ was rejected by the member nations. Sri Lanka has emerged as a frontrunner to host the six-nation tournament as extremely humid conditions in the UAE in the month of September could lead to injuries to players. It will be interesting to see if Pakistan, after this snub, competes in the tournament, scheduled to be held from September 2-17.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was forced to propose an alternative after BCCI refused to send the Indian team to the neighbouring nation due to diplomatic tension between the two countries. PCB had proposed that India play their games in the UAE while Pakistan host their matches on home soil.
“Najam Sethi (PCB chairman) was in Dubai today to procure support, but to his horror, there were no takers for his proposal of Pakistan playing its games in Karachi or Lahore and India playing in UAE. Sri Lanka was always with BCCI and now even Bangladesh Cricket Board seemed opposed to the idea,” an ACC source told PTI.
“ACC has always maintained that in principle the ‘hybrid model’ is unacceptable and the budgetary sanctions can never be passed.”
“Also, it’s not about Pakistan hosting its own matches. It also means that if India and Pakistan are in same group, the third team will be travelling to and fro between Dubai and a city in Pakistan,” the source added.
What added fuel to the fire is PCB’s recent decision to host Pakistan Super League’s matches in UAE due to escalated costs of security arrangements.
“Also logistically, the broadcasters wouldn’t want to send separate units in two countries. Sri Lanka, just like UAE doesn’t require inter-city flights whether you play at the Khettarama (Premadasa Stadium), SSC or Galle or Kandy,” he added.
However, the ACC chairman Jay Shah will need to convene an Executive Body meeting to make the decision official.
In the prevailing situation, whether Pakistan participates in the event or decides against coming to India for the World Cup remains to be seen.
“Even ICC won’t agree to Pakistan playing its matches outside India (during World Cup). So let’s see what PCB decides,” the source added.