Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan with Rahul Johri during the signing of the agreement to stage the Asia Cup from September 15 in the UAE. India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and one qualifier will contest in the 14th edition. Image Credit: Courtesy: BCCI

Dubai: Preparations to stage the 2018 Asia Cup in Dubai and Abu Dhabi has officially commenced with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the official hosts of the event, signing an agreement with Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to stage the event on behalf of them, from September 15.

Participating teams will start arriving in the UAE from September 10 onwards and preparations to receive them have already begun.

Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister for Tolerance and the Chairman of the ECB, said after signing the agreement on behalf of ECB: “It is a matter of great pride for the UAE to host a prestigious event like the Asia Cup.”

On behalf of the BCCI, the Acting Hon. Secretary Amitabh Choudhary signed the agreement. BCCI CEO Rahul Johri was also present.

Shaikh Nahyan, who was instrumental in the successfully staging a part of the Indian Premier League in the UAE in 2014, feels that the event will be a great opportunity for the cricket fans in the UAE.

“Our country is home to a large section of people from the participating nations and we feel privileged and excited by the opportunity to bring their favourite sport right here to their doorstep. This is the biggest cricketing event to be held in the UAE and we will ensure every support to make the 2018 Asia Cup a huge success.”

India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and one qualifier from the Asia Cup qualifiers will contest in the 14th edition of the Asia Cup. No non-Test playing country has hosted this tournament so many times as UAE have done over the years.

This tournament’s first edition was held in UAE at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in 1984 and again in 1995.

Commenting on the agreement with ECB, Choudhary said: “We are thankful to the Emirates Cricket Board for hosting the 2018 Asia Cup on behalf of the BCCI. We will see some of the sport’s powerhouse nations go head-to-head for ultimate glory and I am confident that cricket fans around the world will enjoy every moment of this prestigious event.”

The India-Pakistan contest, scheduled to be held on September 19 at the Dubai International Stadium, is expected to be a top-seller. These arch rivals will clash in UAE after a gap of 12 years. Fans are awaiting the announcement of the ticket sales, which is expected to commence within two days.

The final of the tournament will be held on Friday, September 28, at the Dubai International Stadium.