Asia Cup fate likely to be decided on May 28

Even as reports emanating from Pakistan say that the hybrid model proposed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) could be implemented for the 2023 edition of the Asia Cup, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said there could be an announcement on this during the IPL final. The BCCI has invited the heads of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and it is believed that there could be an announcement after the meeting among the Asian boards on the sidelines of the summit clash in Ahmedabad on May 28. "The respective presidents of the Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka Cricket Boards will grace the Tata IPL 2023 final to be held on May 28 at the Narendra Modi Stadium. We will hold discussions with them for outlining the future course of action in relation to Asia Cup 2023," Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary and who is also the president of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), said. Cricket Mazza can confirm that over the last one week, some back channel discussions have taken place among the ACC members and there is an impression that some sort of consensus has been arrived at. The only point of contention is which country will be the second venue - UAE or Sri Lanka. A UAE board official was in India during the IPL to request the BCCI to play in the Emirates which was the preferred choice of the BCCI for the IPL, Asia Cup and even Twenty20 World Cup during the pandemic times. The word was that the UAE board fell afoul with the BCCI and Shah was not keen on the Dubai-Sharjah-Abu Dhabi choices and was in favour of Sri Lanka. Unconfirmed sources say he relented after the recent discussions with the UAE official. The hybrid model, proposed by the PCB, the designated host of the Asia Cup, was to have matches divided in Pakistan and the UAE with India playing its games in the Emirates. The model was resisted by the BCCI and the PCB chief Najam Sethi then presented a diluted model with Pakistan getting to host only four games and the rest in UAE. Clarity will emerge during the meetings in Ahmedabad over the second venue. Unfriendly weather conditions in the UAE will also be debated during the Ahmedabad meeting as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh boards had previously refused to play the continental championship there because of baking heat in September. The PCB, however, is in favour of holding the matches in the UAE. Consensus over the Asia Cup will have some inevitable positive upshots too and it could resolve any issues over the World Cup in India in October-November. The PCB had linked its participation in the World Cup to the Asia Cup conduct and a positive outcome during the discussions in Ahmedabad could prevent a stand-off in the lead up to the 50-over mega event.