The ninth Asia Cup is to be held in Pakistan between June 24 and July 6 and is sure to be the most competitive yet. India go into the event will all the momentum, having won the Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia last month and will be up against defending champions and 2007 World Cup finalists Sri Lanka. Pakistan, as hosts, and with a resurgent team will want to assert their credentials with a very strong showing in the event and are just as likely as anybody to lift the cup in the Karachi final. Bangladesh too, on their day, could upset anybody, anytime.

The non-Test participants UAE and Hong Kong won't just be making up the numbers. For all of their players it will be the biggest matches of their lives and under those conditions any one of them could play out of their skins. UAE captain Saqib Ali has plenty of first-class experience in Pakistan behind him and will be a treat to watch.

"Karachi will host ten of the thirteen matches, while Lahore will host three and since the event is played in the summer all matches will be day-night, starting late in the afternoon," said ACC Chief Executive Ashraful Huq after the hosting agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board was signed at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. "I have always felt that this was one of the most important tournaments," says ACC President Arjuna Ranatunga, himself a player in six previous Asia Cups. "I am delighted to see Pakistan hosting it and everyone has agreed to send their best teams for it," he added.


Filed March 21, 2008