Pakistan continues to be a troubling component of the Asian cricket community. As the time comes near for the next edition of Asia Cup, once again the presence of Pakistan is causing difficulties. As per the system in place, Pakistan is now due to host Asia Cup. With Sri Lanka and Bangladesh having toured Pakistan, their participation in the biennial tournament isn't in any doubt.
But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is adamant that if Pakistan is the venue for the continental championship, then it won't send the Indian team on this tour. "The question isn't about the PCB hosting the tournament. It is about the venue and as things stand now, it is quite clear that we would need a neutral venue.
"There is no way that an Indian team can visit Pakistan to even participate in a multi-nation event like the Asia Cup. If the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is ok with an Asia Cup minus India then it is a different ball game. But if India is to participate in the Asia Cup, then the venue cannot be Pakistan," an official in the BCCI told news agency IANS.
In 2018, the Asia Cup was supposed to be played in India but the Pakistani players were likely to have complications getting visas for coming to the country. As a result, the tournament was shifted to the neutral venue of UAE. India managed to win the event in a nail-biting finish which saw Kedar Jadhav scoring the winning runs on the last ball of the match.
This edition of the tournament would be different from the previous one as it would be a T20 affair. The reason behind it is to get participating teams prepared for the upcoming World T20 later in the year. The 2016 edition of the tournament was also a T20 event, played a few weeks before the World T20 in India.
The BCCI official further added that "A neutral venue is always an option. BCCI did it in 2018."
There are two layers to India's refusal for playing in Pakistan. To begin with, the political relations between the two nations are in a bad shape. At this point, to send the national team to Pakistan would not be possible. Secondly, while Sri Lanka and Bangladesh may have toured the country, India would not feel as secure in a country ravaged by terrorist outrages.