regular-article-logo Friday, 02 June 2023

Neutral venue bargain in the works for India

Council looks at Pakistan-hosted Asia Cup options

Indranil Majumdar Calcutta Published 23.02.23, 03:19 AM
2022 Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka in Dubai

2022 Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka in Dubai Getty Images

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is working on a compromise formula to help Pakistan host some of the matches during this year’s Asia Cup while India get to play their ties in the UAE.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had reiterated its stand of not travelling to Pakistan for the tournament during the ACC’s executive board meeting in Bahrain earlier this month.


BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who is also the chairman of the ACC, had first made it clear at its AGM in Mumbai in October that India wouldn’t be sending its team to Pakistan. The official reason being cited is that it won’t get the necessary clearance from the government.

The BCCI, however, has no problems playing in another country where Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will be the host nation. Dubai and Sharjah are being looked at as possible venues for India to play their matches.

Sources told The Telegraph that the compromise formula allows Pakistan to host the matches featuring the rest of the teams while India complete their fixtures in the UAE. With Rohit Sharma’s team expected to make the title round, the final will also be held in Dubai.

The ACC board will meet next month to finalise the venue. The 50-over Asia Cup will be held in September before the World Cup in October-November.

The BCCI expects to appease the PCB through this formula and the move could also help in getting the Najam Sethi-led Board’s assurance of touring India for the World Cup.

“The ACC isn’t in favour of a long-drawn tussle among its members. The BCCI tried to make other boards understand their position during the last meeting. Hence, this formula is being talked about,” a source told The Telegraph.

The PCB is keen on hosting the Asia Cup and has pointed to international teams touring the country to assure players of their safety. Teams like England, New Zealand and Australia have toured Pakistan for Test and limited overs matches in the past few months.

Last year, the Asia Cup was held in the T20 format because of the impending World Cup in Australia. Sri Lanka are the defending champions.

The PCB had earlier threatened to pull out of the ACC if India didn’t tour Pakistan.

In a closely guarded media release after the Bahrain meeting, the ACC said: “The ACC had a constructive dialogue on the upcoming Asia Cup 2023. The Board agreed to continue discussions on operations, timelines and any other specifics with a view to ensure (sic) the success of the tournament. An update on the matter would be taken at the next ACC executive board meeting to be held in March 2023.”

eld in March 2023.” The last Asia Cup was also played in the UAE with Sri Lanka retaining the hosting rights. It had been moved out of the island-nation because of political turmoil.

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