BCCI and PCB at loggerheads over Asia Cup cancellation claim
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has clashed with the Pakistan Cricket Board in announcing the cancellation of the Asia Cup, the limited overs competition scheduled for September.
Yesterday, during an Instagram Live Session with Sports Talk, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly claimed the 2020 Asia Cup, now earmarked for Sri Lanka, had been called off but did not specify a reason.
However, Samiul Hasan, media and communications director of the Pakistan Cricket Board, insisted today that Ganguly’s claims had no merit, with a decision yet to be made by the Asian Cricket Council.
He said: “The statements made by Sourav Ganguly have no impact on proceedings. Even if he passes comments every week, they do not hold weight or merit.
“The decision regarding the Asia Cup will be taken by the ACC. The announcement can only be made by the president of the Asian body Nazmul Hasan. To the best of our knowledge, the schedule of the next ACC meeting is yet to be announced.”
Responding to the reports, Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the chief executive of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, said he believes the Asia Cup will go ahead.
The six-team tournament was this year set to be played over the Twenty20 format but has been in doubt because of concerns over security and the coronavirus pandemic.
The ACC met last month to decide on plans for the event but a final decision was not taken.
Pakistan was initially awarded hosting rights to the Asia Cup but the BCCI requested a change of host or for India's matches to be played in another country, citing security implications.
The PCB said it was prepared to hand over hosting rights to Sri Lanka due to the relatively low number of cases of Covid-19 in the country, and would look to host the next event instead.
Ehsan Mani, PCB chairman, said: “The Asian Cricket Council is looking at organising it [in Pakistan] next year. It is too dangerous to host it this year. We had swapped the event with Sri Lanka this year because it is one of the least affected [countries in South Asia] from the virus.
“We were originally going to host it but when I looked at the Covid situation in UAE and Pakistan and other South Asia countries, the only country which was ahead of the cycle was Sri Lanka and most likely to conduct the event.
“So Sri Lanka Cricket and PCB discussed it, we put the swap proposal to the ACC and it was approved by the board. There were no politics, it was just for the sake of preserving cricket and nothing else.”
With the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, scheduled for October to November in Australia, unlikely to go ahead due to virus-related restrictions, the cancellation of the Asia Cup would allow the BCCI to stage a full version of its postponed Indian Premier League T20 competition this autumn.
Ganguly pointed out that if the T20 World Cup is cancelled, the BCCI would lose even more revenue if its showpiece league does not take place.
He said: “It is a very important tournament for India, our target is to host it in India across four or five venues. If not, then having it overseas is an option.”
Sri Lanka Cricket has previously offered to stage the IPL.
Meanwhile, SLC said domestic cricket in the country is set to resume next Tuesday, albeit without spectators.
Coronavirus-related restrictions have been eased in the country, where the total number of infections was reported to be 2,084 as of yesterday.
SLC said action would resume next week with the inter-club T20 cricket tournament, which was suspended in March. Last month, two training camps were organised for the national team.
Ashley de Silva, the SLC chief executive, said: “The SLC has taken steps to commence these activities under the guidance of the sports and health ministries as the country is gradually recovering from the coronavirus.”
India, England and Bangladesh had already postponed tours of Sri Lanka this year because of the health situation.