On Wednesday, the schedule for the Asia Cup was announced with Pakistan and Sri Lanka jointly hosting the edition for a first in the tournament’s history. While India play all of their matches in Sri Lanka, Pakistan will meet Nepal and one of the qualifiers in the Super Fours on their home soil. While four matches take place in Pakistan, the remaining nine will be hosted by the island nation with the final in Colombo.
The blockbuster clash between India and Pakistan takes place in Kandy, with both teams drawn in Group A. However, while Rohit Sharma’s men will play all of their matches in Sri Lanka, Pakistan’s opening match of Group A takes place in Lahore before they travel to the island nation for the India clash; the gap between the two games is two days. Furthermore, Pakistan will return to their home soil for the opening game of the Super Fours – provided they qualify for the round – before returning to Sri Lanka again.
The shaping of Pakistan’s schedule didn’t sit well with the side’s former captain Salman Butt, who lashed out at the lack of rest for Babar Azam’s men in the continental tournament.
“It’s a very strange schedule. Pakistan are playing their first match in Pakistan, then they will travel to Sri Lanka for the second match. On the other hand, Sri Lanka will play their first match in their home, and when they have to travel to Pakistan for the second game, they have a 4-5 day gap,” Butt said.
“Pakistan, who are originally the host nation, have only got two days gap. We never cared about our players.”
The release shared by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) president Jay Shah categorically stated that Pakistan will remain A1 and India will remain A2 regardless of their positions after the first round. If either of them does not qualify, Nepal will take their position. In case the two arch-rivals qualify, their Super Fours clash will take place in Colombo.
Similarly, in Group B, Sri Lanka will remain B1 and Bangladesh will remain B2. If any of these teams do not make it to Super 4s, Afghanistan will take their position.