The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) will meet in Dubai next week under its Chairman Nazmul Hassan, with one of the key discussions expected to be around this September’s Asia Cup T20 tournament.

The meeting will take place on 3 March and Pakistan will be represented by their chairman Ehsan Mani, also a former ACC and ICC President.

Last year, the ACC had awarded the Asia Cup to Pakistan, but due to unconstitutional and undemocratic decisions by Narendra Modi’s government in Kashmir as well as on the Line of Control, concerns have grown on the prospects of Pakistan hosting the India cricket team for the competition.

A PCB spokesman while talking to APP here on Friday confirmed the dates of the ACC meeting, saying: “The ACC meeting will take place in Dubai on 3 March. The meeting agenda includes an update on the Asia Cup T20 tournament. So, we expect there will be some discussions on the staging of the tournament, which is scheduled in September.

“The ACC is the event authority, while the PCB is the event host. So, at the end of the day, it will be the ACC Board that will make the final decision on the event venue though it remains Pakistan at this stage.”

In 2018, the ACC Board had allocated the Asia Cup 50-over tournament to BCCI but decided to stage the event in the United Arab Emirates due to Pakistan cricket team’s inability to travel to India.

The situation has only worsened in the past 12 months in the aftermath of Pulwama incident and due to India’s atrocities in Kashmir and the controversial citizenship laws.

The ACC tournaments are organized with the sole objective of raising revenues, which can be reinvested in cash-strapped cricket development countries such as Nepal, Singapore, Bhutan, Brunei, Iran, Oman, Kuwait, Thailand and Afghanistan.

Pakistan last staged the Asia Cup in 2008 in Lahore and Karachi, with Sri Lanka defeating India in the final at the National Stadium.

The two countries have not played a bilateral series since 2012 when Pakistan toured India for three ODIs and two T20Is. However, they have regularly played against each other in ICC and ACC events with Pakistan traveling to India for the 2011 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup semi-final, the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2013 as well as the ICC T20 World Cup 2016.

ACC sources requesting anonymity said no decision has been made on relocating the event, but if that situation arises, then the United Arab Emirates will be the obvious choice.

“The UAE will be an automatic choice should the ACC decide that the event needs to be relocated in the better and larger interest of cricket in Asia. Even if the event is relocated, Pakistan will remain the event host as was the case with the BCCI in 2018.

“But it will have to be a consensus and majority decision by the ACC Board to relocate the event,” an ACC official said.

The Asia Cup T20 tournament is also being seen as a preparation event for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which will be staged in Australia from 18 October to 15 November.

Pakistan is ranked No.1 in ICC rankings, while India is fourth, followed by Afghanistan seventh, Sri Lanka eighth and Sri Lanka ninth.

Ehsan Mani will depart for Dubai on Saturday and will return on Saturday, 7 March. Apart from the ACC meeting, he will also attend the ICC Financial and Commercial Affairs committee meeting which he chairs.

Independent experts said the PCB should push to host the event in Pakistan but even if a decision to relocate to the UAE in made, then PCB must accept it.

“The show must go on, irrespective of where it is taking place. This will only improve people to people contact. Furthermore, if the PCB will try to be rigid and stubborn, then the ACC has the authority to take the event away from the PCB. That will be more detrimental to the image of the PCB.

“Separately, the hosts are paid handsome fee for staging events, which the PCB will have to forfeit. Considering the economic challenges, Pakistan cannot afford to miss out on any opportunities where it can bring foreign exchange into the country, which can be reinvested in cricket.”