LAHORE: As expected and already announced by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday night, the Asia Cup-2020 scheduled for September this year has been officially postponed, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) announced on Thursday.

According to an official announcement made after the Executive Board of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) held on Thursday, the decision of postponement has been taken due to the prevailing the Covid-19 situation around the world and now Sri Lanka - who are the hosts - will decide the suitable dates to hold the event in 2021.

“The ACC Executive Board has met on multiple occasions to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Asia Cup tournament scheduled in September 2020,” the ACC announcement said. “From the onset the Board was keen on organising the tournament as per the original schedule. However, travel restrictions, country-specific quarantine requirements, threat to fundamental health and social distancing mandates have posed substantial challenges to the holding of the Asia Cup. Above all, the risks related to health and safety of participating players, support staff, commercial partners, fans and the cricketing community were deemed to be significant.

“Accordingly, the Board, after careful consideration of all the above factors, has determined that the Asia Cup 2020 be postponed. Conducting the event in a responsible manner remains the priority of the ACC and the Board is hopeful that the tournament will be held in 2021. The ACC is currently working towards securing June 2021 as a suitable window for the same,” it concluded.

Hosts Sri Lanka to decided new dates for 2021

It may also be mentioned that the hosts for the Asia Cup 2020, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), had exchanged thee hosting rights for the tournament with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). Through this arrangement, The SLC will now host the rescheduled Asia Cup expected in June 2021 while the PCB will host the Asia Cup 2022.

Due to the pandemic, the Cricket Australia/ICC are also undecided whether to hold the ICC T20 World Cup later in October-November this year or not. A final decision in hosting the ICC World Cup will also be taken in July. And if the CA and the ICC will also withdraw its decision not to host it this year, that will be the second blow to all the Asian cricket nations, while first to the other world nations as it will have a negative impact on their financial position.

The ongoing Test series between England and the West Indies that commenced in Southampton on Tuesday, however, gives lot of hope to other cricketing nations as well encourage the ICC to still remain focussed about staging the T20 World Cup later this year.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2020