Dubai, July 17: The hosting of 2022 Asia Cup could be shifted out of Sri Lanka despite the island nation successfully hosting an all-format tour of Australia men's team, a white-ball tour of India women's team and is currently hosting a two-match men's Test series against Pakistan without any major issues.
A report in ESPNCricinfo says that despite the possibility of the tournament being moved to the UAE, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will remain the official host of the 2022 Asia Cup. The report added that a decision was taken at an Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting this week, which remains concerned by the acute shortage of fuel which has played a big part in grinding Sri Lanka down to a halt.
Since April this year, Sri Lanka has been in acute economic and social crisis due to daily power cuts, rising fuel prices and massive shortages of basic essentials like food and medicines which prompted resignation of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled to Singapore via Maldives.
"Hosting two teams is not the same as hosting ten teams. You have to provide ten buses with fuel for all of them. You have to give every team a luggage van with fuel, and transport for the managers. You also have to give the sponsors transport and ensure that they are getting the mileage that they want from their sponsorship. The fuel for the generators to run the floodlights will also have to be found," SLC chief executive officer Ashley de Silva was quoted as saying in the report.
The report further said that the ACC is set to announce the 2022 Asia Cup schedule on July 22 and it will likely have India and Pakistan facing each other twice in the league phase. De Silva added that with Sri Lanka in a dire state due to fuel shortage and political instability would have stopped many fans from India and Pakistan to fly in to the country.
"There are also two India vs Pakistan matches, and there will be people who want to travel and watch those matches. People might not be happy to travel to Sri Lanka because of the situation."
The report also said that with the operational costs for the Asia Cup borne by ACC, SLC won't see any revenue loss, but the local economy in Sri Lanka will lose substantially with hotels and transport operators missing out.
"The ACC had limited options regarding back-up venues considering June through September is monsoon season over most of the Indian subcontinent. In terms of the infrastructure and travel, the UAE has proved to be a successful venue, but late August and early September generally witness extreme temperatures of over 40 degree celcius with humidity also expected to be a factor. Accordingly, the matches could start early evening," added the report.
The 2022 Asia Cup, in 20-over format, will see India entering the competition as defending champions, having won the competition in the 50-over format in 2018 in the UAE. Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will feature in the tournament and will be joined by another Asian side, which could be either of UAE, Kuwait, Singapore or Hong Kong, to be decided after a qualifying tournament, for which the schedule is yet to be known.
The 2022 Asia Cup will be the 15th edition of the tournament, having started from 1984 in Sharjah. India are the most successful team of the tournament, winning it seven times, including the T20I edition in 2016. Sri Lanka have won the competition five times while Pakistan emerged as the winning team twice.