Asia Cup 2020 venue yet to be finalized: PCB Chief Ehsan Mani

Interestingly, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly confirmed Dubai as the venue for the tournament on Friday.

Ehsan Mani and Sourav Ganguly
Ehsan Mani and Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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The rivalry between arch-rivals India and Pakistan has heated up over the upcoming Asia Cup even months before the first ball has been bowled. The tournament is scheduled in Pakistan in September this year but the uncertainty over the participation of defending champions India has created problems for the organizers.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly recently confirmed that the venue of the T20 tournament has been shifted from Pakistan to Dubai with which his Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) counterpart Ehsan Mani has contradicted.

The PCB is eager to host the tournament but the BCCI is not interested to see its players tour Pakistan. Even other Asian sides like Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have issues in traveling to Pakistan although Sri Lanka and Bangladesh recently visited Pakistan after expressing reservations initially over the security situation there.

Pakistan remained sidelined as an international host since the terror attack that happened against the Lankan national team in Lahore in 2009. The country has gradually started hosting international cricket and the 2020 edition of the Pakistan Super League is also being hosted on its soil entirely.

We have a few options: Ehsan Mani

The UAE’s name has been proposed by many as an alternative venue for the 2020 Asia Cup and after a number of reports suggested that the Middle Eastern country is set to host the tournament, Ganguly said the Indian board has also zeroed in on Dubai. Mani though said it is yet to be the case. The UAE hosted the 2018 edition of the Asia Cup that India won, defeating Bangladesh in the final. Besides Dubai, Abu Dhabi served as the second venue for the tournament.

“The Asia Cup is organized for the benefit of the Associate Members. We will take a decision keeping that in mind. A final decision will be taken bearing in mind the interests of all the Asian countries. We have a few options,” The Indian Express quoted Ehsan Mani as saying.

Coronavirus is another threat to the tournament

Besides the Pakistan factor, the threat of coronavirus has also posed a threat to the finalizing of the scheduling of the tournament, Mani said. “Look, the Asia Cup is in September and we are in February. But if it (coronavirus outbreak) gets out of control, then we have to be prepared for any eventuality. So the matter could be discussed as a secondary issue,” the PCB chief added.