Asia Cup 2018 likely to be moved out of India
After losing the opportunity to host the under-19 Asia Cup, it looks like they will lose the senior tournament as well.
What's the story?
After losing the opportunity to host the Under-19 Asia Cup because of their reservations against Pakistan, India could also lose the chance to host the Asia Cup as well. The 2018 edition of the tournament is scheduled to take place in September 2018 but the rising political tensions between India and Pakistan could force the tournament out of India.
The Men in Blue are the reigning Asia Cup champions after winning the 2016 edition by beating Bangladesh. CoA has already said that the BCCI need to inform the Asian Cricket Council if they can't host the tournament so that an alternate host country can be finalised.
"If we didn't get the permission to host the Pakistan's Under-19 team from the centre, it looks highly unlikely that we'll get to do so in case of their senior team," a BCCI official told TOI.
In case you didn't know...
India were supposed to host the under-19 Asia Cup in November 2017 at Bengaluru. However, their inability to get permission from the Indian government for Pakistan to play in the tournament meant that it was moved to Kuala Lumpur. The tournament was eventually won by Afghanistan, who beat Pakistan in the final.
The heart of the matter
The political tensions between India and Pakistan have affected the sporting ties between the two countries as there hasn't been a bilateral series between the two in this decade.
"The Pakistan athletes were given visas to take part in the Asian Athletics Championships, but the government says that cricket's case is a bit different, since it has an emotional connect with people from both the countries. When we approached the government with a request, we didn't get any response from them, but we need to decide fast since we need to inform the ACC soon. There are logistical, amongst many issues, involved with hosting a tournament and a country needs time to sort them out," the BCCI official added.
Given the fact that Bangladesh hosted the last Asia Cup, it will be interesting to see which country steps up to host this edition. Or if there will finally be a breakthrough in the relations between the two countries.
India and Pakistan have recently only played each other in ICC tournaments. The sporting ties between the two countries have come to a standstill with neither side playing the other at home. It looks like India's chance to retain the Asia Cup at home will be lost if the government doesn't finally decide to grant Pakistan permission to play in India.