The Asia Cup is ‘likely’ to be moved out of Sri Lanka in the wake of political unrest in the island nation, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) secretary Mohan de Silva said on Sunday, adding that the tournament could be played in the UAE. (More Cricket News)
Sri Lanka, which has been battling an economic crisis, has witnessed widespread protests against the government for weeks. However, the situation worsened with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fleeing the country on a military jet.
“The Asia Cup is very likely that it will be held in the UAE,” SLC secretary de Silva told PTI when asked about a possible change in the venue of the T20 tournament. The dates for the six-team tournament are expected to remain the same as scheduled earlier from August 26 to September 11.
A qualifier will also take place before the main event with Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait and UAE battling out for the one qualification spot. Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh will be the five full member teams.
With Australia tour of Sri Lanka going off smoothly and Pakistan currently playing Test cricket in Sri Lanka, there were hopes that the SLC might be able to host the continental event. The tournament serves as good preparation for the Asian teams ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November.
An official announcement from the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) on the change in tournament venue is expected soon. The ACC is headed by BCCI secretary Jay Shah. Pakistan Cricket Board on Saturday said that it wanted Asia Cup to be played in Sri Lanka.
“Our first preference is to support Sri Lanka and play the Asia Cup there. If this tournament does not take place in Sri Lanka, it will be a huge cricketing and financial loss for them. Australia’s recent tour of Sri Lanka went off without any problems,” said PCB chief executive Faisal Hasnain in a statement.
“Similarly, there have been no issues with the ongoing Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka as we are constantly in touch with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and our embassy in the country.
“Our discussions with the ACC representatives have suggested that the tournament is on track at the moment as they are monitoring the situation very carefully and we will support their decision.”