What’s the story?
After objections raised by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Asian Cricket Council (ACC) have moved the Under-19 Asia Cup that was supposed to be held in India to Malaysia. The tournament was supposed to be held in Bengaluru in November but due to the political tension between India and Pakistan, the ACC have moved it away after the annual general body meeting.
PCB Chairman Najam Sethi, who also heads the ACC told Cricinfo: "The matter of shifting the tournament to Malaysia was amicably agreed by all participants in the development and executive committees since no one wanted it marred by security considerations of any member."
With the eight-team tournament, also including Pakistan, BCCI has already written to the Indian government to get clearance to host the tournament. The fate of next year's Asia Cup for the senior sides, which is also set to be held in India, will be decided in the next ACC meeting.
In case you didn’t know...
The tournament that will take place in Malaysia will include eight teams including the automatic qualifiers, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It will also include two teams each from the Western Region and Southern region. The qualifying round for the Western region that will include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain will be played in Kuwait.
The heart of the matter
The reigning U-19 Asia Cup champions, India, who beat Sri Lanka in 2016 to claim the title will no longer be able to defend the title on their home turf after the amicable understanding between the participating teams to move the tournament to Malaysia. Sethi, who was recently appointed chairman of the PCB and also heads the ACC put forward a resolution to get the tournament shifted and had his way.
The qualifying round for the Western Region will go forth as scheduled despite the crisis in the Gulf that has led to several countries breaking diplomatic ties with Qatar. Sethi confirmed that Kuwait will play host to not just this but also the Under-16 Asia Cup as well and countries will play Qatar.
The decision to move the tournament away from India makes a lot of sense, especially given the political tension between India and Pakistan, that has led to the two countries only facing each other in ICC tournaments. As the defending champions, India would have been looking forward to defending their crown on home turf but Rahul Dravid's side will have to travel to Malaysia to do it.