India may lost the opportunity to host Asia Cup 2018 because of the strained political relations between India and Pakistan.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had recently filed a compensation claim of USD 70 million against BCCI for not honouring the bilateral cricket agreement. However, BCCI officials believe India may end up losing the Asia Cup 2018 . If the board does reach an agreement with the government over hosting Pakistan, they might even go on to lose the hosting rights of the tournament.
A BCCI official spoke about the current dilemma over hosting Pakistan’s cricket team in the upcoming U-19 World Cup and said: “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,” he was quoted as saying by TOI.
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 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,” the official added.
There has also been a discussion with Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) over the possibility of hosting the tournament in another country. A minute-of-the same meeting, dated November 21, read, “It’s not clear whether the government of India will allow the Pakistan team to travel to India for the tournament. If not, then the BCCI needs to inform the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) of the same so that an alternate host country can be finalised.”
India and Pakistan last played bilateral series in 2012-13 in India featuring three ODis and two T20Is and have since met only in ICC events.
Given the fact that Bangladesh hosted the last Asia Cup, it will be interesting to see which country gets the rights to host this Asian Tournament.