The 2022 Asia Cup is all set to begin on Saturday, with Afghanistan taking on Sri Lanka in the tournament’s first match in Dubai. Six countries will compete in the historic competition this year. The nations possessing Test status – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan – were given direct entry into the tournament. On the other hand, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Singapore, and the UAE had to fight in qualifications for the remaining seat, in which Hong Kong emerged victorious. The upcoming 15th edition would be a treat to many cricket fanatics. With 14 tournaments being held successfully and showcasing some wholesome cricketing action, here are some interesting facts about the Asian tournament that you probably didn’t know.
The inaugural Asia Cup was contested in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, in 1984. At the time, just three countries competed in the tournament: India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. It began as a round-robin event, with the nation with the most victories proclaimed the champion. The competition was organised by the Asian Cricket Council, which had just been created at the time. Sunil Gavaskar’s Indian team won the inaugural title after defeating Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Due to strained cricketing ties with the host country, India withdrew from the tournament’s second edition in 1986, hosted in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, Bangladesh got the ticket to participate in the event. Sri Lanka won the championship after defeating Pakistan in the final.
Predominantly known for his swashbuckling batting as an opener, Virender Sehwag has had a valuable hand with the ball. He holds the record for the highest bowling strike rate in Asia Cup history. He had set this impeccable record in a match against Bangladesh in 2010 when he bowled 6/4 in 2.5 overs.
Sachin Tendulkar, a.k.a Master Blaster, last appeared in an ODI at the Asia Cup in 2012. The India icon got a century in his final Asia Cup ODI before retiring with a half-century against Pakistan. The Master Blaster waited 9 months before retiring from One-Day Internationals. He played Test cricket till November 2013.
The three-time ICC tournament-winning captain, MS Dhoni, made history by winning the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. In 2016, he made history by winning the first-ever ‘T20 Asia Cup.’ In the final, India defeated hosts Bangladesh. In addition to that, he possesses the record of having the best batting average (95.16)
India has won the Asia Cup the most (6) times, followed by Sri Lanka (5) and Pakistan (1). (2). Adding cherry on the top, no Indian batter has got removed for a duck in an Asia Cup ODI. But, this record got broken in the T20 format. In the ODI format, Sri Lanka has the most ducks (17), followed by Bangladesh (11) and Pakistan (9)