Dubai: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani has expressed his dismay over Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly’s announcement that the Asia Cup 2020 will be held in the UAE in September. Following Ganguly’s statement from Kolkata, Mani has remarked from Pakistan that the decision on the venue is yet to be taken and will be made only on March 3.
What has surprised Mani about Ganguly’s statement is that it is Pakistan who are the hosts of the Asia Cup, and not BCCI, so it should have been the prerogative of PCB to make the announcement on the Asia Cup 2020 hosts. When Gulf News contacted Mubashir Usmani, General Secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), he too said that the official decision on the Asia Cup venue is expected to be made only after the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting on March 3.
Mani said that Asia Cup will be held in a venue that will financially benefit the Associate members of the International Cricket Council. The Asian Cricket Council tournaments are all held to raise money for the development of cash-strapped cricketing nations in the region.
Though the 2020 Asia Cup was allotted to Pakistan, India had said that they will not play in the event in Pakistan but would prefer a neutral venue. UAE had hosted the 2018 edition which was a huge financial success and hence had emerged as the desired neutral venue for the event.
Pakistan is of the opinion that since the 2020 edition was allotted to them, it was not upto the BCCI President to make the announcement. There is now a possibility that Pakistan may demand that the Asia Cup be held in another ‘‘neutral” country like Bangladesh.
India had raised objection to playing in Pakistan but is agreeable to play in any other country. The BCCI’s bargaining chip lies on the fact that an Asia Cup - without India playing in it - can result in a huge dip in television and advertising revenue. The ACC meeting on March 3 is to be held in Dubai under Chairman Nazmul Hassan of Bangladesh.
The Emirates Cricket Board have, meanwhile, announced that they will keep all venues ready in case they are to host the Asia Cup here in September.