With COVID-19 cases very much in control in Sri Lanka, and relations between initially slated host country Pakistan and India frosty, there is a good chance that the Island Nation might get to host their first Asia Cup in 10 years. At an Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting earlier this week, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) offered Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to swap hosting years, with SLC handing over hosting rights for the 2022 Asia Cup. The PCB cannot feasibly host a tournament which involves India, due to the turbulent relations between the two nations. The fact that Sri Lanka appears to have the COVID-19 pandemic under the most control out of the potential host nations has added to their advantage.
There is, however, substantial doubt whether the tournament will go ahead as planned, largely due to the restrictions and logistical hurdles due to the pandemic. Hosting a multi-team tournament would clearly require an exponentially greater level of medical arrangements, to say nothing of the travel restrictions that each team will face. At present, SLC has been trying desperately, but has been unable to even confirm bilateral home series against India and Bangladesh that had been slated for the middle of the year. An Asia Cup, which generally sees at least six teams competing, seems far off.
Sri Lanka will relish the opportunity to showcase that their country is a safe place to play to a regional audience, given that this will be the first time they’ll be hosting the Asia Cup since 2010. The ACC’s executive council has not approved the swap of host nations yet, but is expected to confirm hosting plans before the end of the month.