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Not possible to play Asia Cup in June 2021 due to Covid-19 situation: Sri Lanka Cricket chief Ashley de Silva

Sri Lanka Cricket chief Ashley de Silva on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of hosting the Asia Cup in June 2021 due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the sub-continent. Asia Cup 2020 was postponed due to the pandemic from last year and Sri Lanka had the hosting rights to schedule the T20 tournament in June 2021.

Asia Cup 2021 was supported to be played in the lead up to T20 World Cup, which will be held in October-November. Notably, Pakistan Cricket Board had the hosting rights for Asia Cup 2020, which was scheduled for September 2020. Following the postponement of the tournament last year, they exchanged the hosting rights with Sri Lanka.

“Due to the prevailing situation, it will not be possible to play the tournament in June this year,” de Silva told reporters, as quoted by AFP. The Sri Lanka Cricket chief also added that the continental tournament might have to be pushed back until after the 50-over World Cup in 2023. Pakistan have the hosting rights for Asia Cup in 2022.

Asia Cup was last played in 2018 when the UAE hosted a 50-over tournament across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. India defeated Bangladesh in the final by 3 wickets to win the continental crown.

Meanwhile, with doubts over the venue of T20 World Cup in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic situation in India, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has called for a Special General Meeting on May 29 to discuss the upcoming cricket season in India, including the World Cup venue.

The ICC is expected to take a call depending on the Covid-19 situation in India, which is grim at the moment. The UAE has emerged as the backup venue for the event after the IPL 2021 had to be suspended halfway following multiple COVID-19 cases inside the bio-bubble.

In its Apex Council meeting last month, the BCCI had shortlisted nine venues for the showpiece event and they were Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Dharamsala, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai.

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