ISLAMABAD: UAE and Oman are among potential contenders for a neutral venue for India for the Pakistan-hosted Asia Cup slated to be held in September, the ESPN Cricinfo reported on Thursday.
India and Pakistan have been grouped together along with a qualifier in the six-nation Asia Cup, scheduled to be held in the first half of September this year and in a 50-over format.
Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are part of the other group. A total of 13 matches will be played across 13 days including the final. As per the format last year, the top two teams from each group advance to the Super 4s and the top two teams then contest the final. The possibility of India and Pakistan playing three times remains.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have been moving swiftly toward a resolution after an initial standoff on the matter, according to the ESPN Cricinfo report.
“The 2023 Asia Cup is likely to be played in Pakistan with another overseas venue to host India games. Both BCCI and PCB, after an initial standoff, are moving swiftly toward brokering a resolution which could have both teams playing their tournament matches against each other outside Pakistan,” the report read.
“The overseas venue is not confirmed but the UAE, Oman, Sri Lanka and even England are potential contenders to host five matches, including at least two India-Pakistan contests.”
A small working group has been formed with the brief of creating a schedule and travel plan that is agreeable to all participating countries as well as the broadcaster before a final call is taken.
The weather is likely to play a key role in determining the second venue outside of Pakistan, though there will be keenness among the Asian venues to host high-voltage India-Pakistan games.
Since India hosted Pakistan in a bilateral limited overs series in 2013 the pair have only competed against each other at 20- and 50-overs World Cups and the Asia Cup.
The last time they met was at the Twenty20 World Cup in October, where more than 90,000 fans piled into the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch India win a last-ball thriller.