The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has decided to allot the 2023 edition of the Asia Cup to Pakistan. The tournament, set to be played in the ODI format, will follow a T20 Asia Cup in Sri Lanka next year. The decisions were taken by an ACC meeting which was held in Dubai on Thursday (October 15).
The ACC meeting, chaired by Jay Shah, the secretary of BCCI, has recognised that it is the turn of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to host the event and the Pakistan board, as it has been maintaining in the recent times, has declared that it will not host the event at a neutral venue, but in Pakistan only.
The decision, it is understood, is a unanimous one. Sources from both the BCCI and PCB have confirmed the decisions. The exact schedule of the events will be finalised soon but the 50-over Asia Cup, incidentally, will be staged in a 50-over World Cup year that has been allotted to India. The PCB was represented by its new chairman Ramiz Raja.
As the ICC World Cup is scheduled in October-November of 2023, understandably the Asia Cup will be held in the middle of that year with the IPL set for the first half of the year.
Similarly next year’s T20 Asia Cup coincides with the T20 World Cup, scheduled next October-November, in Australia. The ACC wants to host the T20 Asia Cup before that global event, most likely in September.
Originally, it was the turn of the PCB to host the Asia Cup in 2020 but after BCCI refused to travel to Pakistan, the PCB swapped the hosting rights with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). But because of the pandemic situation, SLC could not host the tournament in both 2020 and 2021.
The ACC decision should bring cheers to the beleaguered PCB which has suffered setbacks recently following withdrawal of New Zealand and England from bilateral series in the country citing security and other concerns.
With the ACC meeting taking place in the backdrop of the New Zealand and England pull-outs and some allegations from the Pakistan side over Indian hand in those decisions, there was a lot of significance to the meeting as the BCCI and PCB were sharing one platform for the first time with new chairman Ramiz Raja representing the latter. However, it was learnt that the meeting was cordial.
In fact, Jay Shah invited Raja to the final of the IPL. The PCB chairman, who used to be a regular commentator for the IPL, expressed inability to attend as he was returning home on Friday itself (October 15).