News | Cricket Pakistan to host Asia Cup cricket with Sri Lanka to placate India

Compromise aimed at forestalling tit-for-tat boycott by India which has not played in a bilateral series against Pakistan on either side’s soil since 2012.

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has accepted Pakistan’s hybrid proposal for staging the Asia Cup after India refused to tour due to strained relations between the two South Asian countries.

Pakistan will host four games and the remaining nine will be played in Sri Lanka, the ACC said in a statement on Thursday.

The Asia Cup will be played between August 31 and September 17 this year, the statement said.

The ACC statement did not mention the venues for the tournament or which team will play where but it is understood that India’s matches will be held in the island nation.

The compromise is aimed at forestalling a tit-for-tat boycott by India, which has not played in a bilateral series against Pakistan on either side’s soil since 2012. The rivals only play each other in international tournaments on neutral grounds.

“I am elated that our hybrid version for the Asia Cup has been accepted,” Pakistan Cricket Board head Najam Sethi said.“Our passionate fans would have loved to see the India cricket team in action in Pakistan for the first time in 15 years, but we understand the BCCI’s [Board of Control for Cricket in India] position. Like the PCB, the BCCI also requires government approval and clearance before crossing borders.”

The two hosts and the ACC will work on a schedule. Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India will be divided into two groups. The top two teams in each go to a Super Four and the top two play the final.

The Asia Cup will serve as a tune-up for the 50-over Cricket World Cup in India in October-November. The International Cricket Council is expected to announce the event’s schedule this week.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had threatened to boycott the World Cup if its Indian counterpart refused to play in Pakistan.

Oman Cricket Council chief and ACC Vice President Pankaj Khimji intervened to broker the compromise between the two sides, according to media reports.

India and Pakistan are bitter political rivals and the nuclear-armed nations have fought three wars since being carved out of the subcontinent’s partition in 1947.

Any cricket match between India and Pakistan is one of the most watched events on the global sporting calendar.

They last played a bilateral series in 2012 and most recently faced each other during last year’s T20 World Cup in Australia – a match India won by four wickets.

The last edition of the Asia Cup was played in the United Arab Emirates in 2022 in T20 format as a tune-up tournament for that year’s T20 World Cup.