ASIA CUP 2021
The Asia Cup 2021 is a part of the Future Tour Programs prepared by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The international tournament will be hosted by Sri Lanka this year. It is most likely to consist of 12 ODI and 1 Final match to be held in the host country.
Earlier the 15th edition of the Asia Cup cricket tournament was to be held in September 2020. In July 2020, the tournament was postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest edition of the cricket tournament- Asia Cup 2021 is scheduled to take place in June 2021 as of now. The matches are scheduled to be played as Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) this year.
The ACC (Asian Cricket Council) Asia Cup is a men’s cricket tournament. Today, the tournament is held in One Day International and T20 formats. The Asian Cricket Council was formed in 1983. The Asia Cup was founded in the same year to encourage goodwill between the Asian countries.
Earlier, the tournament was scheduled every two years in ODI format. In 2015, the Asian Cricket Council introduced the concept of ODI and T20 on a rotation basis. That means that if this year is an ODI series, then the next year would be a T20 championship.
In 2016, the tournament was held in T20 format for the first time in the history of Asia Cup. Five teams participated in the cricket tournament just before the 2016 ICC World Twenty20.
BRIEF HISTORY OF ASIA CUP
In 1984, The first Asia Cup was held in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, where the council headquarters were located till 1995. This year, it was a round-robin tournament among India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.
In 1986, India did not participate in the tournament due to tense cricketing relations with Sri Lanka.
Not only India but also Pakistan has a history of boycotting the tournament. The latter canceled its participation in the Asian Cup tournament during 1990-91 due to turbulent political relations with India.
The tough situation between the two countries continued further which led to the cancellation of the 1993 tournament.
ASIA CUP 2021 POSTPONEMENT TIMELINE
The Asia Cup was intended to be held the previous year but owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tournament was postponed. It is one of the many international sports tournaments which were postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
This edition of the Asian Cup has been quite controversial from the very beginning. Be it the hosting rights or the venue or even the dates, they have been shifting for about two years. Let us look at all the developments to date in the upcoming edition of Asia Cup Tournament.
Here is a brief timeline stating all that has happened with the newest Edition of Asia Cup Tournament.
- December 2018
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) gave the hosting rights to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The venue was unclear between Pakistan or the United Arab Emirates at that time.
When this announcement was made, there was a request by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to change the venue of the tournament. Of course, the reason was the ongoing political tension between the two countries. BCCI gave security concerns the reason for raising eyebrows over the venue.
Following the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka national cricket team, only a few international matches have taken place in Pakistan. One last major international tournament is the 2008 Asia Cup held there.
- May 2019
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) stuck to its decision of Pakistan playing the host of the tournament. It raised uncertainties over the participation of India due to the political turmoil between the two nations.
- October 2019
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) started to rethink its decision of giving the hosting rights to Pakistan fearing the boycott from the Indian cricket team. There were several news items on the portal that the Council is reconsidering its decision of giving the hosting rights to Pakistan.
- January 2020
There was widespread news that Pakistan will not be the host of the tournament due to the ongoing stress between Pakistan and India. Each news Portal was flashing the same piece of information. It was unclear whether the cricket fans would be able to see a face-off between the two nations on the field or not.
- 28 February 2020
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly stated that “the Asia Cup will be held in Dubai and both India and Pakistan will play.” However, there was no official confirmation from the council regarding the same.
- 29 February 2020
The chairman of PCB, Ehsan Mani repudiated Saurav Ganguly’s statement. He claimed that the venue is yet to be decided. This further raised many questions and suspense in the minds of cricket lovers over the venue of the tournament.
- March 2020
March saw the extreme outbreak of coronavirus cases throughout the world.
ACC decided to plan a meeting to discuss the venue of the tournament on 3 March 2020 initially. They postponed the meeting until the end of March due to the pandemic.
Then, Ehsan Mani claimed that the tournament would be played at a neutral location on 7 March 2020. Again, there was no such official confirmation on the same.
- April 2020
Ehsan Mani revealed that the tournament can stand cancelled due to the situation of the pandemic. Everyone was waiting for the official confirmation from the horse mouth.
- June 2020
After a meeting with the ACC, the PCB declared that they are stepping down from the position of the host of the tournament. Since India was unwilling to play the matches in Pakistan, ACC made Sri Lanka the new host.
A press release from ACC stated that “in light of the impact and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, possible venue options for the Asia Cup 2020 were discussed and it was decided to take the final decision in due course”.
- 8 July 2020
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly claimed that the Asian Cup tournament had been cancelled. There was no official confirmation by the Asian Cricket Council yet.
- 9 July 2020
Finally, ACC officially postponed the tournament the very next day Saurav Ganguly made such claims.
A statement from the press release stated that “From the onset, the Board was keen on organising the tournament as per the original schedule. However, travel restrictions, country-specific quarantine requirements, fundamental health risks and social distancing mandates have posed as substantial challenges to the holding of the Asia Cup.”
Owing to the pandemic the Asia Cup 2020 was postponed to 2021. The official press release further emphasised that- “Above all, the risks related to health and safety of participating players, support staff, commercial partners, fans and the cricketing community were deemed to be significant.”
DECLARATION OF DATE OF ASIA CUP 2021
ACC declared on 9th July 2020 that all the matches of the tournament would be held in June 2021 through the same press release.
ACC stated that “Conducting the event in a responsible manner remains the priority of the ACC and the Board is hopeful that the tournament will be held in 2021. The ACC is currently working towards securing June 2021 as a suitable window for the same.”
Most likely the tournament is going to take place in the expected June 2021 window.
CONFIRMATION OF THE VENUE OF ASIA CUP
The same statement on 9 July 2020 confirmed the new venue of the Asia Cup 2021 once again.
An excerpt from the statement declares the venue, “It may also be noted that the hosts for the Asia Cup 2020, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has exchanged hosting rights for the tournament with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
The statement further elaborated that the 2022 edition of the Asia Cup would be hosted by the initial host of this year’s tournament. An excerpt from the press issue clears all the air about the hosting powers- “Through this arrangement, the SLC will now host the rescheduled Asia Cup expected in June 2021 while the PCB will host the Asia Cup 2022.”
Some media reports stated back in January 2021 that the Indian cricket team may not participate in the Asia Cup this year. The finals of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship are expected to be played at the same time as the Asia Cup cricket tournament.
The two dates can clash in case India make it to the Test Championship final. So, BCCI may not take a chance and withdraw its name from the list of the playing teams in Asia Cup this year.
India currently holds the title of the most successful team in the tournament. The Indian cricket team has seven titles to its name (six ODI and one T20). The second spot belongs to Sri Lanka with five titles.
Also, Sri Lanka has played the 14 Asia Cups which is the most for any country followed by India and Pakistan who have played 13 cups each.
So, it would be interesting to see how the tables turn and who all become a part of the Asia Cup 2021!