“The next Asia Cup will be hosted by Pakistan. The hosting right belongs to them and it is up to them where they want to host the tournament,” ACC President Nazmul Hassan said after the meeting. The next Asia Cup is scheduled to be played in September 2020 just before the ICC T20 World Cup and the intra-continental event will also be played in the T20 format.
Even though Pakistan has the right to host it, it is not yet clear where Pakistan would host the tournament. The last Asia cup was hosted by India but the Indian authorities chose the UAE as the venue. It is likely that Pakistan will do the same. However, sources believe, a final decision in this regard will only be made a few months before the tournament after analysing the situation in the country.
It is not entirely out of the question that championship may be hosted in Pakistan itself. Slowly and steadily, the PCB has been working towards bringing international cricket back to Pakistan. Just this year, Pakistan hosted emerging teams Asia Cup matches in Karachi with teams from the UAE, Bangladesh and Hong Kong touring for the matches.
The Sri Lankan team bus and mini-van carrying match officials were attacked by militants near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore ahead of the third day of a Test match. Six Sri Lankan players were injured; a reserve umpire suffered serious injuries. Six security men and two civilians were killed in the firing. The Test match and the tour were cancelled.
With teams refusing to tour the country over security fears, Pakistan was forced to host its ‘home’ matches in neutral venues, predominantly in the UAE (Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah).
Pakistan was dropped as a co-host of the 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent. Its 16 matches were shared between the other co-hosts – India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Afghanistan XI arrived in Pakistan to play three unofficial games against a Pakistan A side, including two one-dayers and a T20, in Lahore, Multan and Hyderabad.
Kenya toured the country for five limited-overs matches against Pakistan, all in Lahore.
Zimbabwe became the first Test team to tour Pakistan since 2009. The two T20s and three ODIs were all held at Lahore. The Zimbabweans were given State-guest-level security.
The Pakistan Super League final was played in Lahore. The T20 tournament is normally played in the UAE, but the Pakistan Cricket Board was keen to prove its readiness to host international players. The match was staged successfully without incident. International players: Marlon Samuels, Darren Sammy and Chris Jordan, made the trip.
A World XI side led by South Africa’s Faf du Plessis, played three official T20s in Lahore. Pakistan won the series 2-1. Other big names that made the trip included George Bailey, David Miller, Hashim Amla, Samuel Badree and veteran Paul Collingwood.
The Sri Lankans returned to Lahore for the first time in eight years since the horrific terror attack on their team bus. Sri Lanka agreed to play a solitary T20 in Pakistan, as a continuation of the tour of the UAE. The third and final T20 match of the series was played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. However, the pull out of several big players from the Sri Lankan side for the Pakistan leg of the tour took the sheen out of the contest, and Pakistan won easily by 36 runs.
HISTORIC WEST INDIES SERIES 1,2,3 April: Rs 1000,2000,5000 Tickets on sale online and at TCS centres. — Rs 500 Tickets ONLY from TCS centres. HURRY HURRY.
— Najam Sethi (@najamsethi) March 27, 2018
“HURRY HURRY,” Sethi tweeted once the series was confirmed, and it’s impossible not to understand the excitement. The work of the past many months had borne fruit. The Windies, reigning ICC World T20 champions, had agreed to play three T20Is on consecutive days in Karachi.
Some of the big names like Chris Gayle, Carlos Brathwaite, Jason Holder and Devendra Bishoo opted out, but that did not dilute the excitement – Karachi, after hosting the PSL 2018 final, now hosted international men’s cricket at the National Stadium again, for the first time since 2009. Fletcher and Walton, who were both a part of the PSL 2018 final, were there too.
Which is an impressive feat after the unfortunate demise of international cricket as a result of the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team. PCB has gone out of its way to convince international players to play in Pakistan.
Additionally, the popularity and rise of the Pakistan Super league has played a monumental role in bringing international cricket back to Pakistan. And undeniably a lot of credit is due to the person who achieved all this: Najam Sethi.
Mr. Sethi is not the most liked person among the public due to the Prime Minister’s political attacks on him and his role as the care-taker CM of Punjab in the 2013 General Elections, but no one can deny that his tenure as the Chairman of the board was highly successful. So if we are able to host this event in Pakistan, which will only be clear in the year to come, we must remember the years long struggles of the individuals who put their effort into all this.
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