The 11th edition of the Asia Cup gets under way tomorrow in Dhaka with the hosts Bangladesh taking on Pakistan.
The last time the tournament was held in Bangladesh, in 2000, Pakistan were crowned the Asia Champions. Incidentally, that is the only time that Pakistan has won the Asia Cup with India winning the competition 5 times, and Sri Lanka 4 times.
That is quite surprising considering that 6 of the Asia Cups were held between the mid 80s and year 2000, which was a period of Pakistan's dominance over India and Sri Lanka. Yet Pakistan has won it only once.
Here are some more interesting facts and figures, and some random info, regarding the Asia Cup:
- There has been plenty of confusion regarding the name of the tournament. The first three editions of the tournament were associated with cigarette brands and were called "The Rothmans Asia Cup", "John Player's Gold Leaf Trophy", and "Wills Asia Cup". This was followed by an association with beverages (since ofcourse smoking was considered harmful to health and cricket) and there were two editions that were known as "Pepsi Asia Cup". The other 5 editions have just been called the Asia Cup.
- India and Pakistan, which are by far the two largest cricket nations in the world, let alone Asia, have hosted the Asia Cup only once each. India in 1990, Pakistan in 2008.
- The UAE has hosted the tournament twice and it has also participated in it twice. However it did not participate in the ones it hosted. Weird shit.
- Sanath Jayasuriya has an exceptional record in Asia Cup games. He is the only batsman who has scored over a 1,000 runs in Asia cup matches, he has the most number of 100s (6), and in 24 Asia cup games he averages 53.04 and has a strike rate of 102.5!
- The highest score by a batsman in an Asia Cup game is 144, by Younis Khan against Hong Kong in 2004.
- Muttiah Muralitharan's 30 wickets is the record for most wickets taken in Asia Cup games.
- Pakistan's 385-7 against Bangladesh in the 2010 edition of the Asia Cup is the highest total by a team in Asia Cup games.
- Misbah-Ul-Haq was the Pakistan Vice Captain during the Asia Cup in 2008, he was out of the team during the Asia Cup in 2010, and he is the Captain of the team in this edition. #strangewaysofPakistancricket
- 6 captains have led India in Asia Cups, 8 have led Sri Lanka, and 7 have led Bangladesh. For Pakistan, however, one can field a best XI team of Asia Cup Captains. I'll try and give it a batting order as well: 1. Saeed Anwar 2. Rameez Raja 3. Zaheer Abbas 4. Javed Miandad 5. Inzamam-Ul-Haq 6. Misbah-Ul-Haq 7. Imran Khan 8. Shahid Afridi 9. Shoaib Malik 10. Moin Khan 11. Abdul Qadir
That is some batting line up. A bit weak on the pace bowling front, but then we seem to be relying on spinners these days anyway.
- This should come as no surprise, but Shahid Afridi has the best strike rate amongst batsmen in Asia Cup games. He has scored his 388 Asia Cup runs in 13 innings at a strike rate of 139! Afridi even has a decent Asia Cup average of 43.11.
Here's hoping to more of the same from Afridi during this Asia Cup, and some more facts, figures, and randomness from the competition that gets going tomorrow.