Pakistan and Sri Lanka to jointly host Asia Cup

Countries will share 50-over tournament taking place between August 31 and September 17

India's Hardik Pandya shakes hands with Pakistan captain Babar Azam during the 2022 Asia Cup in Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Organisers announced on Thursday that Pakistan will jointly host this year's 50-over Asia Cup tournament with Sri Lanka.

Pakistan will stage four matches of the Asia Cup tournament, with the rest of the matches now taking place in Sri Lanka. The decision brings to an end a dispute between Pakistan and India that had seen tit-for-tat boycott threats.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had said they would boycott this year's ODI World Cup in India, which is due to start in October, if its Indian counterpart refused to play in Pakistan at the Asia Cup.

Neighbours India and Pakistan have not met on either side's soil in a bilateral series since 2012, and only play each other in international tournaments on neutral grounds.

On Thursday, the impasse was finally over as the Asian Cricket Council announced that the six-nation tournament will be jointly hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka between August 31 and September 17.

“The tournament will be hosted in a hybrid model with four matches being held in Pakistan, and the remaining nine matches being played in Sri Lanka,” the ACC said in a statement.

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India will be divided into two groups. The top two teams in each will progress to the Super Four stage and the top two from there will play the final.

“I am elated that our hybrid version for the Asia Cup has been accepted,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief 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 latest development has raised hopes of Pakistan agreeing to travel to India for the 50-over World Cup. The tournament is scheduled to begin in October. The breakthrough was also significant because Pakistan are scheduled to host the Champions Trophy in 2025.

Updated: June 15, 2023, 2:11 PM