In opposition to media claims that the Asia Cup may be postponed and a separate competition—excluding Pakistan—could be held in Dubai during the same time period, Asian Cricket Council (ACC) officials said on Monday that no such proposal had been made to the member countries.
According to a rumour in Pakistani media, the Asia Cup might be relocated if PCB refuses to agree to play matches at a neutral site.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has the hosting rights for the ODI-format Asia Cup in 2023, but BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who is also the ACC chairman, has made it plain that the Indian cricket team would not visit Pakistan.
The PCB has suggested hosting the Asia Cup using a “hybrid model,” in which Pakistan plays its matches at home while India plays at a neutral site, most likely Dubai.
As with the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, which India and Sri Lanka hosted, it is understood that the BCCI wants the entire tournament moved to the UAE, which has three grounds in Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi.
A member of the ACC Board who was present for conversations outside of an ICC meeting in Dubai told PTI under the condition of anonymity that “messages have been exchanged, but no discussion or proposal to postpone the Asia Cup has been floated.”
“Secondly, PCB will be notified first if the Asia Cup is postponed. That hasn't happened yet in any way. Shah, the chairman of the ACC, has not yet made any public statements.
The ACC will need to convene an Executive Board meeting in order to postpone or cancel the event. The meeting may be called by the chairman (Shah) in seven days, whether in person or virtually. No mention of such a meeting has yet been made, the insider said.
According to the ACC source, the Indian squad was invited and promised the greatest level of protection and the finest accommodation in the final official letter exchange between the PCB, ACC, and BCCI.
However, he agreed, “it is obviously difficult for India to visit Pakistan in the current sensitive political environment.”
The official broadcaster's financial commitments for broadcasting agreements, which include at least two guaranteed India-Pakistan games, are the second problem. The third game would be a goldmine if the two clubs get to the final.
He remarked, “We must keep in mind the media rights and the arrangement with Star Sports, who have paid millions for, at least, two India vs. Pakistan matches in the Asia Cup.
It is said that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) supported the BCCI during the informal conversation amongst ACC members regarding holding the event at a neutral site.
“Look, the consequences of cancelling the Asia Cup if the ACC chairman calls an Executive Board meeting would not only affect Pakistan's World Cup participation, but also the PCB's FTP schedule and bilateral ties with Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, or Bangladesh.
“The situation is still very fluid,” the person claimed.