The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly Wednesday confirmed the postponement of this year’s Asia Cup due to the Coronavirus pandemic. While it was the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) who held the hosting rights for the tournament, the announcement first was astonishingly made by the BCCI boss. Not long after Ganguly revelations, however, PCB chief Ehsan Mani also confirmed that this year’s Asia Cup has been called off.
“Asia Cup cancel ho chuka hai, jo September me tha (Asia Cup, which was to be held in September, has been cancelled),” Ganguly had told ‘sports tak’ in an instagram live session on Wednesday.
The PCB was in talks with UAE and Sri Lanka as possible venues for this year’s Asia Cup considering the COVID-19 graph in those countries was showing promising signs. After doing a risk assessment of hosting the multi-team tournament, however, the board decided to suspend the event altogether. As part of the talks that have happened, Sri Lanka will host the Asia Cup next year while Pakistan will have the rights for the 2022 edition.
“The Asian Cricket Council is looking at organizing it next year. It is too dangerous to host it this year We had swapped the event with Sri Lanka this year because it is one of the least affected (in South Asia) from the virus,” the veteran administrator told PTI.
Mani denied having a political motive behind the decision to suspend the tournament and asserted that it was taken keeping the players’ safety in mind.
“We were originally going to host it but when I looked at the COVID situation in UAE and Pakistan and other South Asia countries, the only country which was ahead of the cycle was Sri Lanka and most likely to conduct the event.
“So Sri Lanka Cricket and PCB discussed it, we put the swap proposal to the ACC and it was approved by the board. There was no politics, it was just for sake of preserving cricket and nothing else,” Mani added.
The T20 World Cup 2020 is also expected to incur the same fate as that of the Asia Cup. As per Ganguly, an announcement on the showpiece event’s schedule is expected to be made mid-July by the International Cricket Council.
With T20 World Cup in October-November also unlikely to go ahead in Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Asia Cup’s cancellation allows the BCCI to have a full-fledged IPL in the same window.