Asia Cup
India are the defending Asia Cup champions (Credits: Twitter)

Asia Cup 2022 may be moved out of Sri Lanka and held in UAE. Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is seriously mulling over shifting its continental tournament out of the island nation.

According to a report, discussions to host the Asia Cup 2022 have been held between ACC and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) with the event likely to be held in UAE now.  The fate of the Asia Cup 2022 seems to be changing by the day as the political fluidity in Sri Lanka and the latest developments hints at a change rather than the status quo.

Asian Cricket Council
Asian Cricket Council. Image: Twitter

Asia Cup 2022 May Be Shifted To UAE As Discussions Held Between ACC And ECB

Strong indications are that the six-team continental tournament could be moved out of the island nation and allotted to the UAE. According to information obtained from different member boards of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), efforts to shift the 16-day event have been initiated.

Discussions are believed to have taken place between the ACC and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) in UAE. The SLC is being kept in the loop and the championship is expected to be held on the same dates as announced before, August 26 to September 11.

Australia vs Sri Lanka
Australia vs Sri Lanka. Image Credits: ICC

“In such a scenario, it is being felt that hosting the championship is not appropriate,” a member of the ACC said on Saturday (July 16).

The present scenario with the SLC is different from what it was a couple of weeks ago when the Lanka board, under pressure from the government, agreed to host the event. But things have changed drastically over the last one week, with the President of the country having fled and a new President installed. The country has been on a boil with protests witnessed against the political establishment.

Sri Lanka had recently hosted Australia for a multi-format series. The series was highly competitive and saw good cricket from both sides. Australia won the T20I series 2-1, the ODI series was won by Sri Lanka 3-2, while the Shane Warne-Muttiah Muralitharan Trophy in Tests was shared after the two-match series ended in a 1-1 draw.

Asia Cup 2022 Could Be Held In The UAE Amidst Turmoil In Sri Lanka 1

Pakistan Cricket Board Would Support Asia Cup Being Held In Sri Lanka As There Are No Issues With The Ongoing Pakistan Tour In The Island Nation

An SLC official echoed the view stating that there is a strong possibility of a shift. Incidentally, the SLC has successfully hosted Australia for a full series and is currently playing host to the Pakistan team. However, a statement from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Saturday morning seemed to project a different scenario.

“Our first preference is to support Sri Lanka and play the Asia Cup there. If this tournament does not take place in Sri Lanka, it will be a huge cricketing and financial loss for them. Australia’s recent tour of Sri Lanka went off without any problems.”

“Similarly, there have been no issues with the on-going Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka as we are constantly in touch with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and our embassy in the country.

“Our discussions with the ACC representatives have suggested that the tournament is on track at the moment as they are monitoring the situation very carefully and we will support their decision,” Faisal Hasnain, PCB CEO, said.

Rohit Sharma led India to victory in Asia Cup 2018 (Credits: Twitter)
Rohit Sharma led India to victory in Asia Cup 2018 (Credits: Twitter)

He also spoke of Pakistan hosting the next edition. Pakistan is currently touring Sri Lanka and is scheduled to play two Tests against them.

“The 50-over Asia Cup next year will be quite significant for us as it will be in preparation of our facilities and venues for the ICC Champions Trophy in 2025. Moreover, the Asia Cup will serve as a warm-up for the participating teams for the ICC Cricket World Cup later that year in India,” the PCB official said.

The next edition is more than a year away and the ACC’s present focus is on the current edition. ACC president Jay Shah is believed to be overseeing things. An announcement could come soon.

The first-ever edition of the Asia Cup was held in 1984 in the UAE. In 2015, it was announced that the Asia Cup from 2016 would be played on a rotation basis between ODI and T20I formats.

The format would depend on the format of upcoming ICC world events. As a result, the 2016 event was the first event played in the T20I format and served as a preparatory tournament ahead of the 2016 T20I World Cup. Two years later in 2018, it was played in the ODI tournament ahead of the 2019 50-over World Cup.

The tournament has not been held since 2018 due to the pandemic. India is the defending champion after Rohit Sharma-led Indian team won the Asia Cup in 2018.