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In a surprising turn of events, the Asia Cup’s much-anticipated Super 4 games and the final are moving away from Colombo, the original host city, to the picturesque coastal town of Hambantota in Southern Sri Lanka. This sudden change of venue is a response to the unpredictable weather conditions currently affecting the island nation.
All participating teams have been promptly notified of this significant adjustment, and an official announcement from the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is expected imminently. Teams that have completed their last league matches in Pakistan will be making the journey to Hambantota, with even the Indian cricket team shifting their base from Pallekele.
There were initial considerations about relocating the tournament to the UAE, but this option was quickly discarded due to concerns over the players’ well-being. Playing in the sweltering heat of the UAE, just three weeks prior to the World Cup, posed significant health risks for the players, given the extreme conditions.
The ACC has also taken weather patterns into account when selecting Hambantota as the new venue. Precipitation levels in Hambantota are notably more favorable than in Colombo, the original Super 4 stage. In Colombo, the likelihood of rain in the next 10 days exceeds 50 percent, while in Hambantota, the probability of rain reportedly stands at a mere 20 percent.
The relocation of the entire tournament has undoubtedly presented logistical challenges for the ACC, but the continental body has responded swiftly to address them. With the next game in Sri Lanka slated for September 9, the ACC had a limited window to make these necessary arrangements.
In the midst of this venue change, there has been criticism, notably from Najam Sethi, regarding the ACC’s choice of Sri Lanka as the host. Sethi suggested an alternative plan with five matches in Pakistan and eight in the UAE, which was ultimately rejected by the ACC. He questioned the rationale behind Sri Lanka’s selection, pointing out issues with the chosen venues.
However, those closely involved with the tournament argue that such criticism is unwarranted. They contend that the ACC deserves credit for swiftly adapting to the circumstances and ensuring the Asia Cup proceeds without major disruptions.
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