Asia Cup 2014
Asia Cup 2014 will be the 12th edition of the Asia Cup One Day International cricket tournament. The tournament will be held in Bangladesh from 25 February to 8 March 2014 with Pakistan as the defending champions. The tournament will include the four Asian test-playing nations, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; and ICC Associate member Afghanistan. This will be the first 50-over tournament in which Afghanistan has taken part. Total number of matches are 11.
Bangladesh is hosting the Asia Cup for second consecutive year and fourth overall. Five teams comprising of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are scheduled to participate for this biggest tournament played at the Asian level. The two venues are Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at Mirpur and Fatullah Osmani Stadium at Fatullah.
Schedule: Asia Cup 2014 Fixtures
In between various bilateral tours and a Twenty20 season that comprises the World Twenty20 and the IPL, the Asia Cup has materialised in the middle of a busy cricket season like an Apparate spell from Harry Potter gone wrong, with splinching the result.
Squads: Asia Cup 2014 Teams & Squads
Bangladesh, the hosts, and Sri Lanka have just finished a full series. The Pakistan team have had a month’s rest, but the country’s board has barely given time for watchers to pause before embarking on wholesale changes. The cricketers will probably find welcome relief from action in the field while defending the title they won in 2012, but Pakistan were one of the countries concerned about the safety situation in Bangladesh. Upheavals back home in boardrooms and possibly in the streets during tournament time provide hardly the ideal set of circumstances for cricketers to do their thing. India have had two exhausting away tours one after the other, with no wins to show in either South Africa or New Zealand. And even before the Asia Cup can get underway, the schedule has already claimed Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Ordinarily tough as nails and built like granite, Dhoni is now sidelined with a left-side strain.
Of the teams in the fray, Afghanistan alone will probably wholeheartedly welcome the Asia Cup. The country where cricket is flourishing in spite of enormous odds, will have a welcome chance to test itself out against bigger teams across a full tournament. The senior team has already qualified for the World Twenty20 and the 2015 World Cup, while the Under-19 side did well to reach the quarterfinal of their World Cup. Cricket seems to be on a distinct upswing for Afghanistan, and whatever the results on field, the Asia Cup can do only good things to Afghan cricket in terms of experience gained.
Plenty of thrills and spills are expected, with no team exactly going into the tournament as the overwhelming favourites.
The Asia Cup will be followed by the World T20, also to be held in Bangladesh, and even if the format might be different, the teams, who more or less have the same squads for both events, will be keen to take some serious momentum into the big ICC event by clinching the Asia Cup title.