Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Mohan de Silva is hopeful of hosting the Asia Cup, scheduled to start in late August, despite the ongoing political turmoil and unrest in the island nation.
The civil unrest has escalated in Sri Lanka in the last one week as protestors barged into the Presidential building demanding the resignation of both the acting president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. President Rajapaksa has reportedly fled to the Maldives and his luxurious residence has been taken over by the general public.
However, Sri Lanka recently hosted Australia successfully amid the political and economical crisis and as per De Silva, cricket has remained immune from the trouble.
The Australians arrived in June for a tour comprising T20Is, ODIs and two Tests, which finished with Sri Lanka levelling the series 1-all in Galle in surreal circumstances as protestors stormed the nearby Galle fort as cricket was played in the backdrop.
Another reason De Silva remained optimistic about the Asia Cup was the Pakistan contingent arriving recently to play a two-match Test series. The Pakistanis have already played a warm-up match and the PCB has confirmed the visitors had not been affected by the political strife outside.
A final decision on whether Sri Lanka would be retained as the venue for the six-nation Asia Cup will be taken by the Asian Cricket Council on Friday.
“As far as we are concerned, we are still very confident of hosting the tournament in Sri Lanka. We have just hosted the Australian tour with two Tests in Galle, and Pakistan are in the country as well,” de Silva told ESPNcricinfo on Thursday.
When asked if there has been any pressure to move from the ACC, he said: “not really”.
The 2022 edition of the Asia Cup is scheduled to be a T20I tournament, with the main event running from August 27 to September 11, following a Qualifier that is also scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka, from August 20 to 26.
Hong Kong, Kuwait, Singapore, and UAE are set to contest the Qualifier, from which the top team will join the five Full-Member Asian teams — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – in the main draw.