Sethi banks on Asian cluster in the UAE

The ACC chairman and Pakistan Cricket Board boss Najam Sethi explains why moving Asia Cup to the UAE was the ‘best third country option’.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) boss, Najam Sethi, admitted that the political tension between India and Pakistan led to the Asia Cup being shifted to the UAE.   -  AFP

Asian Cricket Council (ACC) chairman and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) boss, Najam Sethi, admits that the Indo-Pak political tension led to the Asia Cup being shifted to the UAE from India.

The ACC chief spoke to Sportstar, minutes after the council’s meeting on Tuesday, to explain why the change in venue was necessary.

Excerpts...

What forced the Asian Cricket Council to shift the Asia Cup from India to the UAE?

No Asian tournament is complete without the participation of India and Pakistan.

So, is India-Pakistan tension the only reason behind the decision?

Under the prevailing circumstances, the ACC considered this to be the best third country option.

Being the ACC chief, how confident are you of making the event successful in the UAE?

The event will be a huge success. The UAE has the biggest cluster of Pakistanis, Indians, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis and Afghans in the region. We expect full house in the venues.

Pakistan Super League (PSL) had a poor turnout in UAE. Is that a concern?

You can’t compare the Asia Cup with a five-nation fan base with the PSL, whose fan base is confined only to Pakistanis. For the same reason, the broadcast rights of the Asia Cup will be comparatively substantial. Don’t forget, with the inclusion of Afghanistan as a full member of the ICC, the ACC now boasts half the full membership of the ICC.

In 2016, the Asia Cup was a 20-over tournament. Will it remain a 20-over outing this time, or will it be of 50 overs?

The Asia Cup is planned to be a precursor to the ICC’s T20 and ODI championships. So it will be T20 or ODI in any year depending on which ICC tournament follows it.

Lastly, where will the Emerging Cup final be held? Will it be in India or Sri Lanka?

It will be held in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka. There will be some games in Pakistan with some participants excluding India. India’s games with some participants, including Pakistan, will be played in Sri Lanka.

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