History of Asia Cups
The Asia Cup, officially the ACC Men’s Asia Cup, is a prestigious cricket tournament that brings together Asian nations in a contest of skill and sportsmanship. Established in 1983 by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), the tournament was conceived to promote goodwill among Asian countries. The first edition took place in 1984 in Sharjah, UAE, and since then, it has grown into a significant event on the cricket calendar.
The Asia Cup has a unique format, alternating between One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket every two years. This format aligns with the major global events in the cricketing world, such as the World Cup and the World T20, ensuring teams are well-prepared for the international stage. The tournament was initially held every two years, but since 2009, it has been scheduled biennially.
India has been the most dominant team in the history of the Asia Cup, with eight titles, including seven ODI and one T20I championship. Sri Lanka follows as the second most successful team with six titles, while Pakistan has won it twice. These three nations, along with Bangladesh, have been regular competitors, showcasing the cricketing prowess that exists within Asia.
Over the years, the Asia Cup has not just been a platform for showcasing regional cricketing talent but also a stage where rivalries are born and legends are made. The tournament has seen its share of political and cricketing tensions influencing participation, with India and Pakistan sometimes boycotting the event due to strained relations.
Total Teams in Asia Cup
India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka started the tournament in 1984. Bangladesh debuted in 1986 to become the fourth team in the Asia Cup. Later on, these four teams played the tournament till 2004. In 2004, Hong Kong and UAE made their official entries to the Asia Cup. Afghanistan debuted in the event in 2014. Nepal has become the latest addition to the Asia Tournament, qualifying in 2023. Sixteen teams played in the qualifying round to gain entry into the Asia Cup.
The winners over the years reflect the changing dynamics of Asian cricket, with different nations rising to the challenge in various editions. The Asia Cup remains a fiercely contested tournament and a crown that every participating nation aspires to wear.
Asia Cup 1984
Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India played in the first Asia Cup. It was a round-robin tournament without a final match. India won the tournament by beating Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with Sri Lanka remaining the runner-up team. India’s Surinder Khanna earned the Player of the Tournament award for his 107 runs. Ravi Shastri took four wickets to become the best bowler.
Asia Cup 1986
India did not participate in the Asia Cup due to a strained relationship with Sri Lanka, so Bangladesh was included in the Asia Cup in 1986. Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in the final to win the tournament. Sri Lanka’s Arjuna Ranatunga earned the Player of the series award for 105 runs. Abdul Qadir became the best bowler by taking nine wickets in the tournament.
Asia Cup 1988
India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh participated in the event. India beat Sri Lanka in the final to win the tournament. Navjot Singh Sidhu earned the Player of the series award. Ijaz Ahmed from Pakistan was the highest runs scorer with 192 runs, while Arshad Ayub of India took nine wickets.
Asia Cup 1990/91
Pakistan did not play in the Asia Cup due to a bad political relationship with India. India beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the final. Arjuna Ranatunga scored 166 runs, and Kapil Dev took nine wickets for team India to become the best players.
Asia Cup 1995
All four Asian teams played in the tournament. India won the final by eight wickets, beating Sri Lanka. Sachin Tendulkar scored 205 runs to become the best batter, while Anil Kumble took seven wickets. Navjot Sidhu earned the Player of the series award.
Asia Cup 1997
The Asia Cup of 1997 was structured as a round-robin tournament. The teams that made it to the finals were India and Sri Lanka. The final match saw Sri Lanka emerging victorious over India with an eight-wicket win, thereby claiming their second Asia Cup title. Arjuna Ranatunga became the best batsman with 272 runs and won the Player of the series award. Venkatesh Prasad from India became the best bowler with seven wickets.
Asia Cup 2000
It was the first tournament where India and Sri Lanka could not win the trophy. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by three runs in the final to win its first Asia Cup. Yousaf Youhana became the Player of the series and the best batter for his 295 runs. Abdul Razzaq took eight wickets to become the best bowler.
Asia Cup 2004
Hong Kong and UAE entered this tournament for the first time. The teams were divided into two groups, and the top two teams played the Super Four. Sri Lanka beat India in the final to win the Asia Cup. Shoaib Malik from Pakistan became the best batter with 316 runs. Irfan Pathan took 16 wickets to become the best bowler. Sanath Jayasuriya earned the Player of the series award.
Asia Cup 2008
Asia Cup 2008 was the first time the tournament was held in Pakistan. Sri Lanka beat India by 100 runs in the final to win the 4th title. Ajantha Mendis earned the Player of the series for taking 17 wickets. Sanath Jayasuriya scored 378 runs.
Asia Cup 2010
India beat Sri Lanka by 81 runs in the final to win the trophy. Shahid Afridi scored 265 runs in the Asia Cup and became the Player of the series and best batter. Lasith Malinga took nine wickets.
Asia Cup 2012
Pakistan won the tournament by beating Bangladesh in the final. Virat Kohli scored 357 runs in the tournament. Umar Gul took nine wickets. Shakib al Hasan became the man of the series.
Asia Cup 2014
Afghanistan made their first entry to the Asia Cup. Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in the final to win the Asia Cup. Lahiru Thirimanne became the Player of the series and the best batter, scoring 279 runs. Saeed Ajmal took 11 wickets.
Asia Cup 2016
It was the first tournament played in the T20 format. UAE qualified for the tournament, becoming the fifth team, replacing Afghanistan from the previous tournament. India beat Bangladesh in the final to win the tournament. Sabir Rahman scored 176 runs to win Player of the Tournament and the best batter award. Al Amin Hossain took 11 wickets to become the best bowler.
Asia Cup 2018
ACC announced the five full participants, including Afghanistan, for the event, with Hong Kong as the 6th qualifying team. India beat Bangladesh to win the 7th trophy. Shikhar Dhawan became the Player of the series and best batter by scoring 342 runs. Rashid Khan, Mustafizur Rahman, and Kuldeep Yadav v became the best bowlers with ten wickets.
Asia Cup 2022
Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in the final to win the tournament. Wanindu Hasaranga won the Player of the Series award. Muhammad Rizwan was the best batter with 281 runs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 11 wickets in the tournament.
Asia Cup 2023
Nepal made its first entry in the Asia Cup by winning the qualifying round. Asia Cup 2023 is co-hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka. India beat Sri Lanka in the final to win the Asia Cup. Kuldeep Yadav earned the Player of the Tournament award. Shubman Gill scored 302 runs to become the best batsman. Matheesha Pathirana took 11 wickets.
Impact on Asian Cricket
The Asia Cup has made a substantial impact on cricket across the continent. The Asia Cup has been a stage where historic rivalries, especially between India and Pakistan, have played out, drawing massive viewership and engagement. Hosting the Asia Cup has often led to improved cricket facilities and infrastructure in the host countries. The tournament has increased the sport’s popularity in participating countries, inspiring young players and creating a robust fan base. Regular competition among the top Asian teams has elevated the overall standard of cricket in the region. Ultimately, the Asia Cup has been a catalyst for the growth of cricket in Asia, contributing to its status as one of the most popular sports on the continent.