After a flip-flop over whether the Super 4 round of the Asia Cup should be shifted to Hambantota to escape inclement weather, it has been decided that the matches scheduled in Colombo will go ahead.
The Sri Lanka leg of the tournament, severely affected by rain, has been a matter of deliberation for the organisers over the past few days. On Tuesday morning, the participating teams were alerted about plans of shifting the venue from Colombo to Hambantota in the south, but the decision was reversed within a few hours.
“It was just rumour. We haven’t made any change in the schedule. The weather is fine in Colombo right now,” Sri Lanka Cricket CEO, Ashley de Silva, said.
The five Super 4 matches, including the India-Pakistan face-off on September 10, and the final on September 17 are scheduled to be played at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. It has now been decided that the India-Pakistan match and the final will have a reserve day.
The swift change in plans at the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) management level hasn’t gone down well with the Pakistan Cricket Board, the tournament hosts. One understands that they have written to ACC asking for a general body meeting to be called to discuss the scheduling issue.
UAE DROPPED OVER PLAYER FATIGUE
The tournament is being played in a hybrid model with five matches in Pakistan and the rest in Sri Lanka after India refused to travel to Pakistan. PCB was in favour of having the UAE as the neutral venue. The matter came up for discussion but was again shot down.
“All the full members, media rights holder and in-stadia rights holders were initially hesitant to commit to hosting the entire tournament in Pakistan. This reluctance stemmed from concerns related to the security and economic situation prevailing in the country,” ACC president Jay Shah said.
“In my capacity as ACC president, I was committed to finding a viable and mutually agreeable solution. To this end, I had accepted the hybrid model that was proposed by PCB in collaboration with the ACC management. However, it’s important to note that the leadership of the PCB underwent several changes and this resulted in some back-and-forth negotiations, particularly regarding crucial aspects such as tax exemption and insurance for matches.”
Shah said the UAE wasn’t a viable alternative.
“The Asia Cup 2022 edition was played in the UAE in the T20 format. It’s important to emphasise that the dynamics of a T20 tournament cannot be directly compared to those of a 100-over One-day format. In this context, ACC members received feedback from their respective high-performance teams, expressing concerns about playing One-day matches in the UAE in September. Such a schedule could have potentially led to player fatigue and an increased risk of injuries, particularly right before the all-important ICC Cricket World Cup.”