Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, announced on Wednesday that the Asia Cup this year is cancelled, but while PCB chairman Ehsan Mani too suggested as much, an official spokesperson for the Pakistan board insisted the Indian board chief had no authority to confirm the news.
This year’s tournament has been embroiled in uncertainty from the start. The PCB had won the hosting rights, but with India unwilling to travel to Pakistan, Ganguly had said earlier this year that the tournament would be moved to the UAE, a claim denied by PCB at the time.
Then, with Covid-19 disrupting cricket the world over and reports suggesting that even the T20 World Cup is unlikely to be played this year, the chances of the Asia Cup going ahead appeared slim.
In a live conversation with Sports Tak on Instagram on Wednesday, Ganguly went a step ahead in announcing its cancellation.
“Asia Cup cancel ho chuka hai, joh September me tha (Asia Cup, which was to be held in September, has been cancelled),” he said.
That claim was, according to reports, corroborated by Mani, who explained that Pakistan had swapped hosting rights with Sri Lanka this year, as the island nation was relatively less affected by Covid-19. However, he suggested, there had since been a further rethink, with the tournament being put off till next year.
“The Asian Cricket Council is looking at organising it next year. It is too dangerous to host it this year. We had swapped the event with Sri Lanka this year because it is one of the least affected (in South Asia) from the virus,” Mani told PTI. “We were originally going to host it, but when I looked at the Covid-19 situation in UAE and Pakistan and other South Asia countries, the only country which was ahead of the cycle was Sri Lanka, and [they are] most likely to conduct the event.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 14, 2018
“Sri Lanka Cricket and PCB discussed it, we put the swap proposal to the ACC and it was approved by the board. There was no politics, it was just for sake of preserving cricket and nothing else.”
The Pakistan board, however, has not officially acknowledged Ganguly’s claims, saying a confirmation of postponement can only be made by the Asian Cricket Council. “The statements made by Sourav Ganguly have no impact on proceedings,” Hindustan Times quoted Sami-ul-Hasan, the PCB media and communications director, as saying. “Even if he passes comments every week, they do not hold weight or merit.
“The decision regarding the Asia Cup will be taken by the ACC. The announcement can only be made by the president of the Asian body Nazmul Hasan. To the best of our knowledge, the schedule of the next ACC meeting is yet to be announced.”