The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is expected to shift Asia Cup from Pakistan and decide on an alternate venue in March as BCCI secretary Jay Shah and PCB chairman Najam Sethi discussed the issue during a formal meeting in Bahrain on Saturday.
All heads of ACC member nations attended the emergent meeting which was called at the behest of Sethi after the continental body released its itinerary and Pakistan wasn’t named the host for the Asia Cup.
The Asia Cup was initially allotted to Pakistan and was scheduled in September this year but Shah, who is also the ACC chairman, announced last October that India will not travel to Pakistan due to diplomatic tension between the two nations.
“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 the success of the tournament. An update on the matter would be taken on the next ACC Executive Board Meeting to be held in March 2023,” ACC said in a statement.
While a decision will come only next month, a senior BCCI official privy to the development told PTI that it is highly unlikely that Pakistan will host the tournament.
“With India deciding against travelling to Pakistan, the tournament will have to be shifted. A tournament without Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill will have the sponsors back out,” the official said.
One ACC insider said Sethi has just taken over PCB and if he had ceded ground on the hosting rights in the first meeting itself, then it would have led to a bad impression at home.
Pakistan is currently going through an economic crisis. The inflation has hit the country very hard as one USD is now equal to 277 Pakistani Rupee. Organising a high-profile tournament like Asia Cup, even if ACC pays a grant could burn a hole in PCB coffers.
So strategically, if the tournament is held in the UAE, there is every possibility that all the member nations will also get to earn apart from the broadcast revenues.
In another decision, the ACC has decided to increase the annual budget allocated for Afghanistan Cricket Association to 15 per cent from six.
The ACC has assured that it will help the Afghanistan board in all possible ways so that women’s cricket can be revived in the country. Women are banned from playing sports under Taliban rule.
The Executive Board also approved the inclusion of teams from Japan and Indonesia in the ACC pathway tournaments to participate in the events as invitees.