SLC secretary Mohan de Silva explained the reasons for moving the Asia Cup from the island to the United Arab Emirates. He said the political turmoil in the country led to a loss of confidence on the part of the stakeholders, thus causing the decision drastic.
The 15th edition of the Asian Cup, which will start on August 27 and will have its final scheduled for September 11, which was recently moved to the United Arab Emirates. Initially, the tournament was awarded to Sri Lanka when political protests erupted in the country. Eventually, they turned violent and posed security threats to the visiting nation and other interested parties involved, bringing in the Asian Cricket Council and moving the tournament to the Middle East instead.
However, Sri Lanka Cricket has expressed cooperation with the decision, saying it would still be involved as an organizer in the competition and will help ensure the event runs smoothly. A week after the announcement, Governing Body Secretary Mohan de Silva explained to the press why such a drastic decision only needed to be made a month before the tournament.
“They felt that the situation in Sri Lanka was not conducive to gaining the trust of stakeholders,” India Today said.
“Not just the member countries, but a tournament of this magnitude requires other interested parties, such as broadcasters, sponsors, etc. What they felt was that the negative publicity being shown around the world, with the petrol queues and all. , it doesn’t help our cause, “he said.
The Asia Cup is the largest cricket tournament in the men’s game that is not organized directly by the ICC and is held every two years. The format alternates between ODI and T20, depending on the next ICC marquee event. For example, as ICC World T20 is scheduled after the Asia Cup, the tournament will take place in the shortest format in the game. This edition will see the participation of India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, all of whom have earned a direct spot in the group stage. A mini qualifier tournament will be held before the main draw and will see Kuwait, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE compete for sixth place in the event.
Therefore, with a total of nine participating teams and the tournament taking place over two weeks, it was not possible to take risks in terms of the safety and well-being of all involved. In the two weeks preceding the notification of the tournament move, political tension had intensified in the island nation and had seen its then president flee the country forcing the installation of a new Premier. With protesters in control of the president’s home and streets, there was no other way than to take the required measures.
“Sponsors were having trouble securing and even security clearance for TV crews to enter Sri Lanka was a problem. Delegates who wanted to come from other countries were also unwilling to come,” Ashley de Silva, CEO of SLC mentioned.
Sri Lanka will face Afghanistan in the tournament’s opening match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium and are hoping to save some hope for their compatriots with a successful performance in a time of crisis.
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