Hosting bilateral series, though, is very different from hosting a tournament like the Asia Cup, which this time will be played in the T20 format, and will feature as many as nine teams.
“Hosting two teams is not the same as hosting ten teams,” SLC chief executive officer Ashley de Silva told ESPNcricinfo on Sunday. “You have to provide ten buses with fuel for all of them. You have to give every team a luggage van with fuel, and transport for the managers. You also have to give the sponsors transport and ensure that they are getting the mileage that they want from their sponsorship. The fuel for the generators to run the floodlights will also have to be found.”
The ACC is set to announce the Asia Cup schedule on July 22 and it will likely have India and Pakistan facing each other twice in the league phase. In normal circumstances, several thousand fans from both countries would have been expected to fly to Sri Lanka, but de Silva feared the fuel shortage and the political unrest would be too much of a deterrent.
“There are also two India vs Pakistan matches, and there will be people who want to travel and watch those matches. People might not be happy to travel to Sri Lanka because of the situation.” de Silva said.
With the operational costs for the Asia Cup borne by ACC, SLC does not stand to lose any revenue, but de Silva did concede that the local economy in Sri Lanka stood to lose substantially with hotels and transport operators missing out.
The ACC had limited options regarding back-up venues considering June through September is monsoon season over most of the Indian subcontinent. In terms of the infrastructure and travel, the UAE has proved to be a successful venue, but late August and early September generally witness extreme temperatures of over 40°C with humidity also expected to be a factor. Accordingly, the matches could start early evening.
This will be the second time in the last five years that UAE will host the Asia Cup. In 2018, the tournament, played in the 50-overs format, was conducted in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah between September 15-28.