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Jay Shah: Venue for Asia Cup to be determined after IPL final

A decision regarding the Asia Cup’s hosting arrangements will be made during the IPL final, announced Jay Shah, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). This year, Pakistan holds the hosting rights for the Asia Cup. However, due to the BCCI’s decision to refrain from sending their team to Pakistan without government permission, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, Najam Sethi, proposed a ‘hybrid model.’ This model suggests that Pakistan would organize at least four matches on their home soil, while India would play their matches at a neutral venue.

It remains uncertain whether Sethi has received a formal invitation to attend the IPL final. Shah stated, “As of now, the decision regarding the hosting of the Asia Cup has not been finalized. We are occupied with the IPL, but high-ranking officials from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Bangladesh, and the Afghanistan Cricket Board will be present at the IPL final. We will engage in discussions and reach a final decision in due course.”

According to sources within the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), Sethi’s proposed hybrid model seems like a feasible solution, although no formal statement has been issued by the ACC. Under this model, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Afghanistan would play four preliminary matches in Pakistan, while India would compete at neutral venues.

The two India-Pakistan matches are expected to take place in Sri Lanka, although the PCB prefers them to be held in Dubai. However, the weather in the UAE during September is not conducive to 50-over games. Nevertheless, logistically, the UAE is a more suitable option for the ACC to make the hybrid model work.

“ACC head Jay Shah will convene a meeting of the executive body, where a formal announcement will be made. The PCB is open to playing India at a neutral venue,” revealed an anonymous ACC source familiar with the developments.

“The PCB would prefer Dubai as it would generate higher gate receipts. However, they are willing to play in another country (such as Sri Lanka) if the ACC matches the gate receipts amount ($0.5 million) that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) received from the Indo-Pak games in Dubai in 2022,” the source further stated.

The window for the Asia Cup is set between September 1 and 17. The tournament will feature six teams: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Nepal. One group will consist of India, Pakistan, and Nepal, while the other group will comprise Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

According to ACC sources, if the hybrid model is implemented, Pakistan aims to host four games: Pakistan vs. Nepal, Sri Lanka vs. Bangladesh, Bangladesh vs. Afghanistan, and Afghanistan vs. Sri Lanka.

In this format, the top two teams from each group will enter the Super Fours stage, where they will face each other once again. Following the round-robin phase of the Super Fours, the top two teams will compete in the final.

The Super Fours will guarantee at least two encounters between India and Pakistan, which is financially beneficial for the host nation, broadcasters, and the ACC. If both India and Pakistan qualify for the summit clash, there will be three matches between the arch-rivals.

“Sethi has stated that in the preliminary round, Pakistan will only play against Nepal. His proposal is to have six games, including two non-India Super Four matches involving Pakistan, to be played in Pakistan,” added the ACC source.

Regarding the final, even if India fails to qualify, the ACC will organize it in a designated neutral country, such as Sri Lanka or the UAE.


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