BCCI seeking government approval for hosting Asia Cup 2018
What’s the story?
After the Under-19 Asia Cup was moved away from India, BCCI have sought government clearance to host next year's Asia Cup. The tournament was scheduled to be held in June 2018 but could now be moved to the latter half of the year, with the final dates set to be announced shortly.
"We had written to the government for the U-19 Asia Cup three months ago and we did not get a response. So the event had to be shifted to Malaysia. Now for the senior event, we will again write to the government as there cannot be an Asia Cup without an India or Pakistan," a BCCI official told PTI.
"The India-Pakistan clash in the Asia Cup is the marquee clash. If that doesn't happen, the tournament is meaningless. And let me make it clear, it is not about playing Pakistan in a bilateral event, it is a multi-team event like any ICC event".
"Like any ICC event, Asia Cup also involves other teams and an India-Pakistan clash is unavoidable," he concluded before adding that rain was the factor in shifting the tournament from June to September or October.
In case you didn’t know...
Following objections raised by Pakistan Cricket Board, Asian Cricket Council (ACC) moved the Under-19 Asia Cup that was supposed to be held in Bengaluru in November to Malaysia. Having defeated Bangladesh in the first-ever T20 Asia Cup in 2016, India are the defending champions.
The heart of the matter
Since the tournament began in 1984, India are the most successful side, having won it six times (5 ODIs and 1 T20I). Although there have been 13 editions of the Asia Cup, India have hosted the tournament just once, in 1990/91 when they defeated Sri Lanka in the final to claim their third title.
2018 was supposed to be only the second time that India host the tournament. BCCI will be hoping for a swift response from the government as the reigning champions seek to defend the title they won in Bangladesh in front of their home crowd in 2018.
India are currently in Sri Lanka, taking part in a five-match ODI series and will return home to host Australia in five ODIs and three T20Is starting on September 17. At the next ACC meeting, the decision of whether India should host the Asia Cup will be discussed. The BCCI will be hoping for a positive response from the government before that to go ahead with the tournament.
The last time India hosted the Asia Cup was more than 25 years ago. Some members of the current India side weren't even born when that happened. Given the immense popularity of the sport, the fans haven't had the chance to see India in action at home, in the Asia Cup. So the onus is on the government to issue the green light and ensure that the tournament stays in India.
Delay in response meant that the U-19 Asia Cup was taken away from India, they must make sure that the same doesn't happen with the tournament for the seniors as well.