Thatscricket - News - Busy schedule cause for AC postponement
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Karachi: The Asia Cup cricket tournament scheduled for April in Karachi has been postponed, Asian Cricket Council Secretary Zakir Hussain Syed has said. Mr Syed said the postponement was mainly due to cricket commitments of Pakistan and India, although strained relations between the two countries could also have been a factor behind the decision. He was commenting on a report in Hong Kong's 'South China Morning Post' that the feud between the cricket bodies in India and Pakistan was believed to have forced the postponement. "It may be one of the causes as Pakistan and India have strained ties. I don't know whether India would have come for the event or not," Mr Syed said. India refused to let its cricket team tour Pakistan last December in protest against Islamabad's alleged involvement in unrest in the Indian part of the Himalayan state of Kashmir, which is divided between the two countries. "Instead of the Asia Cup the member countries have decided to hold the second Asian Test Championship between September this year to January 2002," Mr Syed said. "I know the decision will cause disappointment in Hong Kong and UAE (United Arab Emirates) who were anxiously waiting for the event. "But too many commitments for India and Pakistan was the main cause of postponement," he said. He said the Asia Cup featuring India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the UAE and Hong Kong would now be held in April next year in Karachi. UAE, as winners, and Hong Kong, as runners-up of the ACC Trophy held last year had qualified for the Asia Cup. The Asian Test championship will feature 37 days of cricket spread over five months so that Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have extra time to fulfill any other international commitments in between, Syed said. Pakistan won the inaugural Asian Test championship by beating India in the league and Sri Lanka in the final in 1999. Mr Syed said Hong Kong was one of the places where the ACC wanted to promote cricket. "ACC's development committee is meeting in Calcutta, India next week and among other countries Hong Kong, Nepal, Singapore and Malaysia are countries where we intend to promote cricket," he said. The Hong Kong newspaper said the delay meant the cash-strapped Hong Kong Cricket Association (HKCA) will have to wait for a $100,000 windfall they had been promised after surprisingly qualifying for the tournament last year. But HKCA official Mark Burns told the paper the delay could help the Asian cricket minnows bolster their pool of players as they prepare to take on the Test-playing giants in the tournament. "While the delay will give those players on the fringes of qualifying the opportunity to play under the residency rule, it will also mean that others will get older."