Confusion over hosting of the matches has led to last-minute changes and bitterness between cricket officials from India and Pakistan.
The Asia Cup cricket tournament is halfway through its schedule of matches but the sport’s administrators in the “host” country Pakistan and the sport’s regional governing body have squabbled over where the remaining matches should be played.
Until late on Tuesday, on the eve of the start of the second round, it was unclear where the rest of the tournament, including the final, will be played.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) were involved in a tussle over decision-making powers.
Which body runs the Asia Cup?
The ACC comprises cricket boards from 25 regional nations. It is currently headed by Jay Shah who is also secretary of the Indian cricket board and son of India’s current home minister.
Who is ‘hosting’ the tournament?
Well, that’s the complicated part.
Pakistan is the official host but nine of the tournament’s 13 matches are taking place in Sri Lanka.
Pakistan was scheduled to host the event in 2020 but following complications arising from the coronavirus pandemic and India’s reluctance to travel to Pakistan citing government refusal, the hosting rights were passed on to Sri Lanka with the tournament rescheduled for 2022.
With a rising number of COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka that year, the tournament was eventually played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Pakistan’s hosting rights were deferred to the 2023 edition, the first time it would host the event since 2008.
However, in October, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Shah announced that India would not travel to Pakistan citing “political tensions” between the two South Asian neighbours.
In turn, Pakistan said it would reconsider sending its team to India for the Cricket World Cup scheduled to start next month.
It led to a day of manic behind-the-scenes action as the PCB sought a meeting of the ACC’s executive board and registered its protest with Shah, according to a report on ESPNcricinfo.
As the drama unfolded, Shah released a statement saying: “All the full members, media rights holder, and in-stadia rights holders were initially hesitant to commit to hosting the entire tournament in Pakistan.”
He then controversially added that the reluctance “stemmed from concerns related to the security and economic situation prevailing in the country”.
Source : Al Jazeera