Asia Cup 2023: ACC President Jay Shah gears up for crucial meeting at IPL Finals

The upcoming Asia Cup, scheduled for 2023, is expected to witness significant developments during a crucial meeting between the cricket boards of various Asian countries. While reports from Pakistan indicate the possibility of implementing a hybrid model proposed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has hinted at an announcement during the IPL final.

In a proactive move, the BCCI has invited the heads of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for a meeting on May 28, coinciding with the IPL summit clash in Ahmedabad. It is anticipated that the Asian boards will engage in discussions and unveil the future course of action for the Asia Cup 2023.

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Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary and president of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), stated, The respective presidents of the Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka Cricket Boards will grace the Tata IPL 2023 final on May 28 at the Narendra Modi Stadium. We will hold discussions with them to outline the future course of action for the Asia Cup 2023. Recent behind-the-scenes conversations among ACC members suggest the emergence of a consensus, with the primary point of contention being the selection of the second venue: UAE or Sri Lanka.

During the IPL, a representative from the UAE board visited India to request the BCCI’s support for hosting matches in the Emirates. UAE had been the preferred choice of the BCCI for the IPL, Asia Cup, and the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup, all of which were affected by the pandemic. Initially, Jay Shah expressed a preference for Sri Lanka over the Dubai-Sharjah-Abu Dhabi options, but unconfirmed sources suggest he may have reconsidered after recent discussions with the UAE representative.

The original proposal by the PCB, the designated host for the Asia Cup, included a hybrid model dividing matches between Pakistan and the UAE, with India playing its games in the Emirates. However, the BCCI resisted this model, leading to a revised proposal by PCB chief Najam Sethi, which limited Pakistan’s hosting rights to only four matches, with the rest held in the UAE. Further clarity on the second venue is expected to arise from the discussions in Ahmedabad.

Another point of discussion during the meeting in Ahmedabad will be the unfavorable weather conditions in the UAE. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh boards had previously expressed reluctance to play in the Emirates due to scorching heat in September. On the contrary, the PCB favors hosting the matches in the UAE.

Apart from settling the Asia Cup arrangements, the consensus reached during these meetings may have positive implications for the upcoming World Cup scheduled to be held in India in October-November. The PCB had linked its participation in the World Cup to the successful conduct of the Asia Cup. A positive outcome from the discussions in Ahmedabad could avert a potential stand-off in the lead-up to the mega event.