The Asia Cup relocates to Hambantota, Sri Lanka, due to adverse weather conditions. ACC’s swift action ensures player safety. Critics question venue choice, but organizers credit for adapting under pressure.
In a significant move, the Asia Cup, originally slated to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, will now take place in the coastal town of Hambantota. This change in venue for the Super 4 games and the final comes as a result of ongoing weather conditions that have prompted organizers to make a swift decision.
All participating teams have been duly informed of this alteration, and an official announcement from the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is expected in the coming days. With some teams completing their last league games in Pakistan, they will now make the journey to Hambantota, while the Indian cricket team will relocate from Pallekele to the new venue.
Reports suggest that the option of hosting the matches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was considered but ultimately discarded due to concerns about the players’ well-being. Playing in the sweltering and intense heat of the UAE, just three weeks before the World Cup, raised significant health risks for the players given the extreme conditions.
The ACC also factored in the weather patterns in Hambantota, which indicate more favorable conditions compared to Colombo, the original venue for the Super 4 stage. In Colombo, the likelihood of rain in the next 10 days exceeds 50 percent, while in Hambantota, the probability of rain is reportedly only 20 percent.
The logistical challenges posed by moving the entire tournament have not gone unnoticed. However, the ACC has acted swiftly to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place, given that the next game in Sri Lanka is scheduled for September 9.
Meanwhile, Najam Sethi has criticized the ACC’s decision to favor Sri Lanka as the host nation for the Asia Cup. He expressed his discontent on social media, stating, “I proposed that we play five matches in Pakistan and eight in the UAE. This also they rejected and hinted at giving the Asia Cup hosting rights to Sri Lanka if we didn’t budge.” He added, “BCCI refused to accept their request. Only Mr. (Jay) Shah can explain why these options were rejected and why Sri Lanka was accommodated against all reason, logic, and rationality. The choice of venues in Sri Lanka was also problematic as we have seen.”
Despite such criticism, those involved in the tournament argue that the ACC deserves credit for making these arrangements under tight time constraints. The decision to move the Asia Cup to Hambantota, they believe, was necessary to ensure the safety and integrity of the competition in light of prevailing weather conditions.