KARACHI: The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) to postpone its meeting to finalise the possible multiple venues of Asia Cup T20, which is supposed to be hosted by Pakistan.
With no chance of India travelling to Pakistan in the prevailing political climate, it was all but certain that tournament will be again held in the United Arab Emirates.
However, due to COVID-19, ACC had to earlier cancel their scheduled meeting earlier this month and they hoped that discussions will continue in the sidelines of the ICC meeting which will now take place via video link.
The ACC meeting has gained importance after BCCI president Sourav Ganguly made it clear that India would not travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup in September but would be willing to play against them at any other venue.
Although Pakistan is the designated host for the 2020 Asia Cup, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani had revealed earlier this month that the tournament will have to be hosted at a neutral venue due to their strained political relations with India.
“Asia Cup will be hosted by Pakistan however the event would have to take place at a neutral venue. If we insist on hosting the event in Pakistan, the Indian team will not take part. We do not care what the BCCI says,” Mani said at the time.
Ganguly also made it clear that the BCCI had no objection to Pakistan remaining hosts of the Asia Cup at any neutral venue.
The PCB was also considering the option of requesting the ACC executive board to allow it to host some matches of the Asia Cup T20 against other teams like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or Afghanistan at home even if it is decided to hold the tournament at a neutral venue.
“PCB’s stance is that with international cricket slowly returning to Pakistan could benefit from hosting few games of the Asia Cup at home,” the sources said.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2020