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Sri Lanka Crisis: Asia Cup 2022 venue to be changed as Island nation plunges into protest?

SL Crisis: Asia Cup to be shifted?

Colombo, April 13: Amid the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka, the chances of the Island nation hosting the Asia Cup 2022 has come down drastically as it will now require nod from other participating countries.

Sri Lanka has been plunged into deep crisis in the last few months with question mark hanging over the Mahinda Rajapaksa government and the country has also seen widespread protest by people over price hike and lack of food, electricity, medicine and other essentials.

In that context, former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga feels that the hosting of Asia Cup 2022 in the country will depend on the nod of other nations.

The Asia Cup 2022 was scheduled to be hosted in Sri Lanka but due to the ongoing economic crisis in the country, many questions are being raised.

Sri Lanka is battling a severe economic crisis with food and fuel scarcity affecting a large number of the people in the island nation. The economy has been in a free-fall since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I don't know what to say. The guys who run cricket over here are highly unprofessional. I hope and pray for the country's sake that Asia Cup should happen. It will now totally depend on other countries how they will see the situation over here," Ranatunga told ANI.

"I don't think the protestors will have any issues with the cricket matches. They only have a problem with the government and they will not be interrupting the tournament.

“But the people in the administration are highly unprofessional and have ruined the cricket board. I have no idea how are they going to handle the situation," he added.

The former cricketer, who has also served as a minister post his retirement, further said that even if some cricketers come forward and offer funds for the tournament, even then the government might end up using that money for their own benefit.

"If some former cricketers offer help, I am scared that these government officials will use that money for their own benefit.

“This economic crisis will not get any better by hosting these matches, because we need a lot of money to overcome this situation. The current government is highly incompetent to handle this mess," said Ranatunga.

The economy has been in a free-fall since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting tourism. Sri Lanka is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has affected its capacity to import food and fuel.

The shortage of essential goods forced Sri Lanka to seek assistance from friendly countries.

The economic situation has led to huge protests with demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Earlier, in a special address to the nation on Monday, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa requested people to remain patient and stop taking to the streets in order to enable the government to resolve the situation.

“Friends, every second you protest on the streets our country loses opportunities to receive potential dollars,” Mahinda Rajapaksa, who previously served as president from 2005 to 2015, said in a broadcast address on Monday.

The prime minister’s remarks highlighted the gulf between the Rajapaksa family and the increasingly frustrated Sri Lankan public.

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Story first published: Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 9:58 [IST]
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