Asia Cup postponed as coronavirus-hit cricket scene continues to suffer

  • Sports Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-07-09 21:15:01 BdST


The Asian Cricket Council or ACC has decided to postpone this year’s Asia Cup tournament which adds to a long list of indefinitely delayed series and tournaments of the game.

Originally slated for September this year, ACC now hopes to host the competition in June 2021 featuring six teams, according to a media statement from the Asian cricket‘s governing body.

"From the onset the ACC was keen on organising the tournament as per the original schedule. However, travel restrictions, country-specific quarantine requirements... have posed substantial challenges to the holding of the Asia Cup," the ACC said.

"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.

"Accordingly, the Board, after careful consideration of all the above factors, has determined that the Asia Cup 2020 be postponed."

This edition will be held in Sri Lanka while Pakistan, who were supposed to host the tournament this edition, would host the 2022 iteration, it added.

In January, India had refused to play the tournament in Pakistan amid political tension between the two countries. They agreed to take part only if the games were played on 'neutral' territory and forced talks of holding the games in the United Arab Emirates for some time.

The Pakistan Cricket Board then switched hosting rights with Sri Lanka whose COVID-19 situation appeared under much control after registering a total of 2,094 cases of infection and 11 fatalities so far.

International cricket was suspended in March due to the pandemic but Pakistan will be the first Asian team to return to action when they take on England in three Tests and three T20 internationals behind closed doors in August-September.

Domestic cricket in Sri Lanka will resume on Tuesday without spectators.

India are the defending Asia Cup champions, having defeated Bangladesh by three wickets in the 2018 final.

Earlier, the Twenty20 showcase event scheduled for this year was also postponed. Due to the World T20 originally slated for October this year, the Asia Cup, too, was supposed to be played in the shortest format.