For the 1st time in the tournament’s history, we will be witnessing it being played in the T20 format.
The outgoing Asian Cricket Council chief executive Syed Ashraful Haq confirmed the news to Cricket Australia while also revealing that there would be two associate teams playing alongside the regular teams Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
The 2014 edition saw Afghanistan take part in the tournament, and next year they could be joined by one among Nepal, Hong Kong or the UAE. He also revealed that the hosts haven’t been decided yet. The primary reason behind the switch in the format is because of the T20 World Cup next year which will be played in India. The tournament will once again go back to the 50 over format in 2018 ahead of the 2019 World Cup and then revert back to the T20 format in 2020 ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia. “As there is a World Twenty20 tournament in 2016, the Asia Cup next year will also be of Twenty20 Internationals in February or March.
The host country has not been decided yet,” he said. “There may be one or two teams from Associate nations as well,” Haq added. “They could join India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the main tournament after playing a qualifying round. The year 2020 will again see the tournament in Twenty20 format and there will be another ODI (50-over) Asia Cup in 2022.” So far, the Asia Cup has been held twice in the Test format and 12 times in the ODI format (with India and Sri Lanka winning 5 each). Sri Lanka won last year’s tournament defeating Pakistan in the final.