Dark Clouds Over India’s Participation In Asia Cup As Relations With Pakistan Deteriorate
India’s participation in the next Asia Cup is now very much in doubt if Asian Cricket Council does not change the venue. The next edition of the tournament will be held next year in Pakistan. The ACC had reasserted its decision to award the hosting rights to Pakistan in May this year. The tournament, which may be organised in T20 format, will be held in September ahead of the World T20 in Australia.
However, India are very much unlikely to participate in the competition if Pakistan host the tournament. In the wake of Indian government’s decision to abrogate Article 370, the already poor bilateral relation between the two nations has further deteriorated. Pakistan have opposed vehemently to India’s decision of abolishing article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
In the wake of India’s decision, Pakistan has decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with India and suspend bilateral trade. Pakistan also expelled the Indian envoy in Islamabad. Thus it is highly unlikely that India would even think of visiting Pakistan next year for the Asia Cup.
India and Pakistan have not played a full bilateral Test series since 2007 when Pakistan visited India for three Tests and five One-Day Internationals. They played a short series of three ODIs and two T20s in India in December 2012, but otherwise, both have faced each other only in the ICC organised events or the Asia Cup. India last played on Pakistan soil in 2008. .
Earlier this year, the bilateral ties took another blow after the Pulwama attack in February. Carried out by Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, the attack claimed the lives of more than 40 CRPF personnels. There were calls for boycotting Pakistan in the World Cup but it did not happen. However, India’s participation in the next Asia Cup is very much in doubt now.
India will participate in the tournament only if the venue is shifted. But if ACC and Pakistan decide against shifting the venue, the next year’s Asia Cup is more than likely to be played without the defending champions.