Originally scheduled for India, the tournament had to be moved after Pakistan refused to travel to rival nation
Cricket’s Asia Cup has been moved from India to the United Arab Emirates over Pakistan’s refusal to cross the border, as relations simmer between the rivals, the Asian Cricket Council said on Tuesday.
The biennial event was due to be held in India in September, sparking protests from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) who called for the event to be relocated.
“This year’s Asia Cup is moved out of India to U.A.E. and will be held from Sept. 13-28,” Sultan Rana, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) development and event manager, told AFP.
India has suspended bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan since the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which New Delhi blamed on militants based across the border. However India has continued to square off with Pakistan in international events like the 2016 Asia Cup in Bangladesh, the World Twenty20 at home and the 2017 Champions Trophy in England.
The Asia Cup has been marred by strained Indo-Pak relations since its inception when the U.A.E. hosted it in 1984. Two years later, India pulled out of the event in Sri Lanka, while Pakistan refused to send its team to India when it hosted the cup in 1991.
With Pakistan and India unable to host, Bangladesh held three straight Asian Cups from 2012 to 2016.
Rana said six Asian teams would compete in the 50-over Asia Cup. “India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the five top teams while, there will be a qualifying round to select the sixth team,” said Rana, a former Pakistan first class player.
Meanwhile, the ACC Emerging Asia Cup was also jeopardized earlier this month when India refused to send their team to Pakistan to compete. “Emerging Cup will now be hosted jointly by Pakistan and Sri Lanka in December this year,” said Rana. India will play its Emerging Cup matches in Sri Lanka.