The Asia Cup, which was previously seen as a mini version of the World Cup, has progressively evolved into a venue for World Cup practise. The Asia Cup is designed to follow the format of the World Cup being played that year, whether it be in the ODI or T20I format. The Sri Lanka cricket team won the Asia Cup in the T20 format last year when it was played in the United Arab Emirates. However, the Asian teams will compete in the game’s 50-over format this season. But, why is it so?
Despite the fact that the Asia Cup has some of the best teams in the world, like as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, etc., the competition is still regarded as a “preparatory” one. The Asia Cup is now organised by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in the same year as the World Cup. The Asia Cup adopts the World Cup’s format, whether it is T20 or 50-over. Asian teams do typically gain from this strategy given how the game has developed.
The Asia Cup Format:
Despite featuring prominent teams like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and others, the Asia Cup is primarily perceived as a warm-up occasion. Notably, The Asia Cup is now organised by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in the same year as the World Cup. This implies that the format of the Asia Cup mirrors that of the ongoing World Cup, whether it’s T20 or 50-over cricket. Given the evolution of the sport, this strategy notably favours the Asian teams.
The tournament was first played in the ODI format back in 1984, however after the introduction of T20s, things changed. The last ODI Asia Cup was played in 2019, the same year as the final ODI World Cup. That year, the Indian team won the championship. However, the Indian team that took part in the competition wasn’t even at full strength.
The team’s iconic batsman, Virat Kohli, who was also the captain at that time, opted out of the tournament, handing over leadership duties to his deputy, Rohit Sharma. Interestingly, in one match, Rohit himself chose to take a break, leading to MS Dhoni taking charge.
Looking ahead to the 2023 edition, it is set to be co-hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This tournament will also feature Nepal for the first time. Nepal secured their spot in the event by triumphing in the inaugural ACC Men’s Premier Cup 2023, where they emerged victorious over the United Arab Emirates in the final.