On Thursday the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) postponed the Asia Cup tournament until June 2021 owing to an upsurge in COVID-19 cases in the region. The tournament was supposed to happen in September this year. Apart from this the council further clears the way for the Indian Premier League, which the franchise-based event organizers are trying to hold from September to November with the T20 World Cup also set to be deferred.

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly announced the cancellation of the Asia Cup. Pakistan was the host of the tournament this year. With the Asia Cup pushed back by a year, it is expected that ICC will announce the postponement of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in October-November.

 The Asian Cricket Council tweeted “After careful consideration and evaluating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Executive Board of the ACC has decided to postpone the Asia Cup tournament that was scheduled for September 2020. The Executive Board of the ACC has met on multiple occasions to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Asia Cup tournament”.

The ACC Board, of which both Ganguly and BCCI secretary Jay Shah is a part of, could not afford to ignore the health risks involved in hosting the tournament.

“From the onset, the Board was keen on organizing the tournament as per the original schedule. However, travel restrictions, country-specific quarantine requirements, fundamental health risks, and social distancing mandates have posed substantial challenges to the holding of the Asia Cup.

The statement further added, “Above all, the risks related to health and safety of participating players, support staff, commercial partners, fans and the cricketing community were deemed to be significant,”. 

 Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), exchanged the hosting rights with Sri Lanka Cricket due to security reasons for this tournament. 

Accordingly, the (ACC) Board, after careful consideration of all the above factors, has determined that the Asia Cup 2020 be postponed. Responsibly conducting the event remains the priority of the ACC and the Board is hopeful that the tournament will be held in 2021.

Through this arrangement, the SLC will now host the rescheduled Asia Cup expected in June 2021, while the PCB will host the 2022 edition.

While the postponement was on the cards for the longest time, Ganguly stealing away the thunder from PCB bosses Ehsan Mani and Wasim Khan by announcing the decision one day earlier didn’t go down well with the two top men in Pakistan cricket.

While there was no formal comment from the PCB, a source close to the duo said that protocol meant that the hosts would have ideally announced a postponement.

PCB official said “They are not happy since Pakistan was the official hosts of the Asia Cup and secondly they feel this announcement should have come through the ACC. Ganguly’s announcement makes it clear that BCCI wanted postponement”

Writer – Yashvi Tomar