PCB chief Ehsan Mani has confirmed that the 2020 Asia Cup will be contested at a neutral venue, all but suggesting that the tournament is likely to be moved to Dubai, a venue suggested by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly.

This however will have no effect on Pakistan’s hosting rights of the tournament. The 2020 Asia Cup was initially supposed to be held in Pakistan, but due to safety concerns, Ganguly had last month clarified that the showpiece match India vs Pakistan would be contested in Dubai, keeping in mind the security concerns in the country and the strenuous relations shared by the two nations. Mani, who had earlier disagreed with Ganguly, confirmed the news Saturday.

“We have to keep in mind the interests of associate members of the Asian Cricket Council. We can’t be stubborn and insist we will host the tournament in Pakistan because India is not willing to come to Pakistan. The option is it will be held at a neutral venue but that has to be decided by the ACC members,” Mani told the media in Islamabad.

Two years ago, the 2018 Asia Cup, held in the UAE, was initially supposed to be held in India, and Ganguly reminded everyone that the ICC event was eventually moved to the Middle East after Pakistan refused to tour the neighbouring country. This year, with India being defending champions, it is only fair that India remain firm on their stance. Despite all indications pointing towards the UAE being the preferred country, Mani, however, refused to said the call will be taken by the Asian Cricket Council.

“No decision has been taken on whether it will be held in UAE or Bangladesh,” he said.

With international cricket finally making a return to Pakistan, Mani also revealed that the PCB had paid heavily paid players from the West Indies to come play cricket in the country. The West Indies toured Pakistan in April 2018 to play three T20Is which the home team won 3-0 and as per Mani’s admission, each player from the West Indies squad was given a whopping USD 25,000 by the previous board members to come play a series.