New Delhi: BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday announced cancellation of the Asia Cup T20, scheduled to be held in September, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pakistan originally had the hosting rights of the six-team continental event but considering the alarming COVID-19 situation, the PCB board had decided to swap it with Sri Lanka.
"Asia Cup cancel ho chuka hai, jo September me tha (Asia Cup, which was to be held in September, has been cancelled)," Ganguly told sports tak in an instagram live session.
The Pakistan Cricket Bard confirmed that they have agreed to host the event in 2022 and Sri Lanka is now expected to host it next year following the cancellation of this year's edition.
PCB chief Ehsan Mani said the decision was made due to the worsening pandemic.
"The Asian Cricket Council is looking at organising it next year. It is too dangerous to host it this year We had swapped the event with Sri Lanka this year because it is one of the least affected (in South Asia) from the virus," the veteran administrator told PTI.
Mani said there was no politics behind the postponement and the decision was taken purely on safety grounds.
"We were originally going to host it but when I looked at the COVID situation in UAE and Pakistan and other South Asia countries, the only country which was ahead of the cycle was Sri Lanka and most likely to conduct the event.
"So Sri Lanka Cricket and PCB discussed it, we put the swap proposal to the ACC and it was approved by the board. There was no politics, it was just for sake of preserving cricket and nothing else," Mani added.
With T20 World Cup in October-November also unlikely to go ahead in Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Asia Cup's cancellation allows the BCCI to have a full-fledged IPL in the same window.
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) met last month to decide on the road ahead for the continental event but no decision was taken.
India has the third largest load of coronavirus cases with more than 7.5 lakh infections reported so far.
In the same show, Ganguly was asked about when the Indian team will be seen in action next. The Virat Kohli-led team last played in March.
"It is tough to say now as no one knows when the virus situation improves. Our preparations are in place but we can only implement them on the ground. Stadiums are open but players are not going to train there because chances of getting infected are high," said Ganguly.
"So, we can start when situation improves and we are not in a hurry. Players' safety is paramount. It is tough when there is no cricket for five six months but it is a crisis. There is no target (for resumption), we are taking it day by day."
Takling about the IPL, Ganguly said: "I don't know about the IPL also, getting a window is important.
"T20 World Cup is there, the ICC is trying to make it happen as it generates a lot of revenue for them. Unless we get clear cut directions from the ICC, we can't say anything about the IPL."
Ganguly said if the T20 Word Cup in Australia is cancelled, the BCCI will put all its energies on staging the IPL. The BCCI will lose around Rs 4000 crore if the league doesn't take place.
"It is a very important tournament for India. Our target is to host it in India across four-five venues. If not, then having it overseas is an option," he added.
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