A dispute over the venue has stalled a formal announcement on the Asia Cup though there are strong indications that a consensus has been reached on the second hybrid model as proposed by Pakistan.
Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Jay Shah said on Thursday that he will meet and discuss the issue with the heads of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and Afghanistan Cricket Board, who will be present in Ahmedabad to watch the IPL final on Sunday.
“We will hold discussions with them for outlining the future course of action in relation to Asia Cup 2023,” Shah, who is also president of the Asian Cricket Council, said.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi could also join the informal meeting virtually.
Pakistan are the hosts of this year’s Asia Cup, scheduled for September, but India have declined to travel there. The PCB had first suggested a hybrid model where India would play their matches at a neutral venue (Dubai) while all other matches would be played in Pakistan. The BCCI rejected that proposal and Sethi then presented another diluted version whereby Pakistan would host 4/5 of the matches at home and the rest would take place in Dubai.
The BCCI, along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, aren’t interested in playing in Dubai because of the extreme heat at that time. The PCB, however, has stuck to its stand of hosting the matches in the UAE.
Sethi told The Telegraph a few days ago that the BCCI shouldn’t have any reservations about playing in Dubai since the 2018 (50-over) Asia Cup, with India as hosts, and last year’s edition were also held at the same time and venue. Besides the IPL and T20 World Cups have also been held there during the same period.
Sethi, however, wasn’t aware of the ground realities. Several Indian players, including then stand-in captain Rohit Sharma, had complained to the Board regarding the inhuman sultry conditions and how it could have led to injuries. The other tournaments held there could begin in the evening since they were held in the T20 format.
With BCCI refusing to budge on not playing in Dubai, Sri Lanka has been mooted as an option but PCB is not keen and is demanding the gate money generated from the matches there.
An India vs Pakistan fixture generates about 80 per cent of the revenue of the Asia Cup and the arch-rivals could meet thrice in the tournament, including the final.
If PCB refuses to accept Sri Lanka as a venue, the tournament could run into trouble.