Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has said the Asia Cup will proceed as planned in June 2008 in Karachi, after the BCCI assured him of India's participation. The tournament, originally scheduled for April, had to be postponed since the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to get underway in the same month.
"The Asia Cup is very much on," Ashraf told reporters in New Delhi. "I've talked to BCCI officials about the tournament and they have promised that India would certainly take part in the tournament."
Ashraf explained that the dates had to be shifted taking into account Pakistan's busy international season - which includes a home series against Australia in April followed by a tri-series in Bangladesh - and also the fact that a few players would be participating in the IPL.
"Some of our top players will be taking part in the IPL," Ashraf said. "Then another reason why we agreed to find new dates for the event was the fact that April didn't suit us because our players will be playing in a tough series against Australia just about the same time."
Ashraf also confirmed that the BCCI had floated the idea of contesting a tri-series between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka instead of the Asia Cup to raise more profits but the PCB decided against it.
"Our contention is that it is not just about the money," he said. "Next year would be the 25th anniversary of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), which is why we want to assure that the Asia Cup is held in a successful manner in June."
The previous edition was held in Sri Lanka in 2004 but the biennial event had to be postponed in 2006 due to scheduling problems. Pakistan was slated to host it in February 2006 after India's bilateral series in Pakistan but the BCCI said it was unable to fit in another one-day tournament with England touring for a three-Test and seven-match ODI series.
The current edition of the Asia Cup features six teams, including Oman and United Arab Emirates, aside from the four Test-playing nations.