A lot of eyebrows were raised when Asian Cricket Council (ACC) gave the hosting rights of next year’s Asia Cup to Pakistan. The reason behind the same was obvious. While Pakistan have started hosting games once again, their relation with India are at an all time low. 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. The Mumbai terror attack later that year meant the tour turned out to be India’s last visit to the country.
The Pulwama attack earlier this year has further deteriorated things. Carried out by Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, the attack claimed the lives of more than 40 CRPF personnels. In the wake of the attack, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) led by Vinod Rai had written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to sever ties with countries from where terror emanates.
There were also a question mark over the much-anticipated match between India and Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup. And it would not be entirely wrong to say that India would not resume bilateral ties with Pakistan in near future. Thus it is highly unlikely that the team would travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup next year.
So the question arises why did the ACC give the hosting rights to Pakistan. Well, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani has now revealed the reason behind it. The former ICC chief has revealed that India did not object to the decision and in fact supported Pakistan’s bid. He, however, made it clear that if Indian government objects to it, Pakistan will stage the competition in UAE.
“India supported our bid for the Asia Cup but the venue will be decided later. Our preference is to have the matches in Pakistan if the Indian government gives permission to BCCI to send its team to Pakistan for the tournament. If not, UAE is the 2nd option,” said Mani.