Asia Cup matches could be moved out of Colombo due to weather

The washout between India and Pakistan has raised alarms amongst organisers and broadcasters over their next possible meeting in Colombo

The Asia Cup schedule could be changed due to rainy weather with the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) considering shifting matches in the Super Four round out of Colombo. Sri Lanka Cricket and the PCB are understood to be looking at alternative options in Sri Lanka where relatively drier weather is predicted.

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The washout of the marquee clash between India and Pakistan in Pallekele on Saturday has raised concerns among the ACC and the broadcasters Disney Star. It’s a significant loss of revenue when India matches are not completed, let alone a huge India-Pakistan game. There have been conversations regarding the way forward for the tournament.

Colombo has witnessed heavy rain in the last few days despite this not being the monsoon season in Sri Lanka. The rainfall has led to flooding in the northern parts of the city, not far from where the Khettarama Stadium is located. 

The Khettarama ground is scheduled to host five Super Four matches and the final during September 6th to 17th. September is not considered a rainy month in Colombo with the monsoon usually starting in October. The venue has hosted four ODIs and five T20Is in men’s cricket in the month of September. Only two of those matches were rain-reduced and all had results.

Despite this track record, the organisers seem unwilling to take a risk with the flooding in the area and high stakes involved for all parties. It is not clear if the officials have consulted with Sri Lanka’s meteorologists on what kind of weather is predicted in Colombo over the coming weeks. 

If the organisers do decide to shift the matches out of Colombo, they could struggle to find an alternative venue as there have been a few logistical issues. Dambulla was suggested as one of the options, but the Indian team is understood to be unsatisfied with hotel and accommodation facilities there. Apart from that, apparently there is some work ongoing on the stadium floodlights. Dambulla is one of the dry zones in the country, where it traditionally has less rainfall than Colombo and Kandy at this time of year.

Hambantota could be another option but that ground is located on the edges of a jungle and finding accommodation options nearby could be difficult. Moving the matches to this venue would be a big logistical hassle for the board.

Not only the SLC board but broadcasters too are reluctant to split the remaining games across two venues. It would require transporting equipment back and forth by road, or maintaining infrastructure at two different locations in Sri Lanka.

The Asia Cup has already been impacted by scheduling challenges after India refused to travel to Pakistan, who are the official hosts of the tournament. India’s refusal to play in Pakistan due to political tensions between the two countries has meant that other teams have had to travel back and forth between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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