BCCI president Sourav Ganguly made it clear that India would not travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup in September but would be willing to play against them at any other venue. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The coronavirus pandemic has stalled all cricket action till April, with international series between India vs South Africa, England vs Sri Lanka and Australia vs New Zealand (home and away) all suspended. Even the Indian Premier League, which was postponed to April 15, is also on the verge of cancellation after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's annoucement of a 21-day lockdown in India to combat the coronavirus. However, the delay in the game of cricket could be longer than expected with the Asia Cup T20, considered an important tournament before the ICC World T20 in October in Australia, under a cloud due to the coronavirus.
The meeting of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) to finaise the possible multiple venues of Asia Cup T20 has been postponed. This edition of the Asia Cup will be in the T20 format and this time, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) are hosting it. The ACC meeting had gained importance after BCCI president Sourav Ganguly made it clear that India would not travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup in September but would be willing to play against them at any other venue. Ganguly also made it clear that the BCCI had no objection to Pakistan remaining hosts of the Asia Cup at any neutral venue.
Pakistan was also considering the option of requesting the ACC executive board to allow it to host some matches of the Asia Cup T20 against other teams like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or Afghanistan at home even if it is decided to hold the tournament at a neutral venue.
India have refused to play Pakistan in bilateral events ever since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. In 2012, they played in one bilateral series in India which consisted of Twenty20 Internationals and ODIs. Most of the contests between India and Pakistan has come in multi-nation tournaments like the ICC World Cup, World T20, Champions Trophy or in the Asia Cup. The BCCI has maintained that they would travel or play Pakistan if the government advises them to.
The BCCI has maintained that they would travel or play Pakistan if the government advises them to. (Image credit: Getty Images)
During the ACC meeting in Singapore last year, a senior BCCI official had told PTI, "The decision to play in Pakistan will be completely be the government's call. The Board will follow whatever decision the centre takes. We believe that just like we hosted the tournament last year in the UAE, Pakistan should also ideally organise it at a neutral venue."
Sri Lanka became the first team to end Pakistan's home isolation when it came to Test matches. Sri Lanka played two Tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi and these became the first two Tests in Pakistan after 11 years. In addition, Sri Lanka also toured the country for three ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals in October 2019. Pakistan did not host international cricket for six years when terrorists targeted the Sri Lanka team in March 2009 which resulted in the death of several police officers. Zimbabwe broke the ice by visiting Pakistan in 2015 for ODIs.