NEW DELHI — The Asian Cricket Council will decide on an alternate venue for the Asia Cup ODI tournament in March after BCCI secretary Jay Shah and PCB chairman Najam Sethi had their first formal meeting in Bahrain on Saturday.
The Asia Cup was initially allotted to Pakistan and was scheduled in September this year but Shah, who is also the ACC chairman, had announced last October that India will not travel to Pakistan.
It is understood that United Arab Emirates with three venues—Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah—are favourites to host the tournament but the decision has been withheld for the time being.
All heads of ACC member nations attended the emergent meeting which was called at the behest of PCB chairman Sethi after ACC under chairmanship of Shah released the continental body’s itinerary where Pakistan wasn’t named the hosts.
“The ACC affiliates met today and there were a lot of constructive discussions. But the shift of venue has been postponed till March. But be rest assured that with India not going to Pakistan, the tournament will have to be shifted. A tournament without Virat Kohlis, Rohit Sharmas and Shubman Gills will have the sponsors back out,” a senior BCCI official privy to the development told PTI.
One ACC insider said Sethi has just taken over PCB and if he would have 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 and inflation has hit the country very hard with the country’s currency plummeting to Pakistani Rupee 277 against 1 US Dollar. 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 percent 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 sport under Taliban rule. — (PTI)