Due to the political unrest in Sri Lanka, the Asia Cup is likely to be moved out of the island nation, and may be played in the United Arab Emirates, SLC secretary Mohan de Silva said on Sunday.
Sri Lanka Cricket Secretary de Silva, when asked about a possible change in the venue of the T20 tournament, said, “The Asia Cup is likely to be held in the UAE.”
There have been widespread protests against the government for weeks in Sri Lanka, which is reeling from an economic crisis.
However, the situation worsened with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fleeing the country on a military jet.
The dates of the six-team tournament are expected to remain the same from August 26 to September 11.
There will also be a qualifier before the main event with Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates battling for a qualification spot.
Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh will be the five full-man teams.
With Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka going smoothly and Pakistan currently playing Test cricket in Sri Lanka, there were hopes that SLC might be able to host the continental event.
An official announcement from the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) on the change in the tournament venue is expected soon. The ACC is headed by BCCI Secretary Jay Shah.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said on Saturday that it wants the Asia Cup to be played in Sri Lanka.
“Our first priority is to support Sri Lanka and play the Asia Cup there. If this tournament doesn’t happen in Sri Lanka, it will be a huge cricket and financial loss for them. Australia’s recent tour of Sri Lanka went off without any problems. PCB Chief Executive Faisal Hasnain said in a statement.
“Similarly, there is no issue with Sri Lanka’s ongoing tour of Pakistan as we are in constant touch with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and our embassy in the country.
“Our discussions with 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.”
The tournament serves as a good preparation for the Asian teams ahead of the T20 World Cup to be held in Australia in October-November.