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Sri Lanka’s captain Dimuth Karunaratne (left) and Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam pose with the Test trophy after Sri Lanka won the second Test at the Galle International Cricket Stadium. Photo: AFP

Hong Kong to play Asia Cup qualifiers in Oman after Asian cricket bosses move tournament out of Sri Lanka

  • Main draw of the tournament has been moved to Dubai over concerns about the political turmoil in Sri Lanka
  • Hong Kong will play Singapore, Kuwait and UAE for the right to play in the Asia Cup proper

Hong Kong’s cricketers will play their Asia Cup qualifiers in Oman later next month, sources told the Post on Thursday.

A source said officials were expected to announce the switch shortly, after the Asian Cricket Council earlier confirmed multiple reports that the main draw was being moved from Sri Lanka to the United Arab Emirates because of the political turmoil wracking the island.

Sri Lanka has witnessed months of food and fuel shortages, blackouts and runaway inflation in the wake of its worst financial crisis on record.

Cricket bosses to move Asia Cup to Dubai as civil unrest in Sri Lanka continues

The qualifiers are scheduled to be played between August 20 and 26, with the Asia Cup itself taking place from August 27 to September 11 in Dubai.

“Considering the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka, the ACC after extensive deliberation has unanimously concluded that it would be appropriate to relocate the tournament from Sri Lanka to UAE,” the governing body said in a statement.

Sri Lanka recently hosted Australia in a bilateral series and have just beaten Pakistan in the second Test at Galle.

“We were really looking forward to hosting our Asian neighbours in Sri Lanka for the much-anticipated Asia Cup,” SLC president Shammi Silva said.

“While I fully stand by the ACC’s decision to shift the Asia Cup to UAE considering the current context and magnitude of the event, Sri Lanka cricket will work closely with the ACC and the Emirates Cricket Board to ensure that we still have an exciting edition of the Asia Cup”

The UAE, Kuwait, Singapore and Hong Kong will play the qualifying round of matches in Oman, with sources suggesting the last game would be between UAE and Hong Kong, the two teams expected to be challenging to win a place in the main draw, alongside Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.