A look at all six sides competing in the 14th staging of the tournament with India the defending champions
Asia Cup 2018 talking points: Team guides, fixtures and TV details for the action in Abu Dhabi and Dubai
The central prize of the Asia Cup might not amount to much more than local bragging rights. But that carries a fair amount of weight given that the countries involved account for around a quarter of the world’s population between them.
Can India recover from their humbling in the UK? Will Bangladesh be as competitive away from home as they were in past three Asia Cups, all of which were in their backyard in Dhaka? Can Afghanistan really win it, as Rashid Khan, their brilliant legspinner, claimed this week? We look at those questions, and more.
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Asia Cup pedigree With six wins, including two years ago when they won the first T20 version of the event, India are the most successful Asia Cup side.
Talking point Virat Kohli broke the hearts of thousands of cricket fans – as well as a few players - in the UAE when he opted to rest rather than play at this tournament.
Point to prove Kuldeep Yadav will be happy for a return to coloured clothing. His Test debut in England last month was much vaunted, but it proved a tough introduction.
Asia Cup pedigree Just two titles – some way short of rivals India and Sri Lanka – is a surprisingly meagre return for the enigmas of world cricket.
Talking point The new strict adherence to fitness read outs rather than on-field success has seen Imad Wasim – previously a limited-overs mainstay – stood down from the squad.
Point to prove Last time he was in Dubai, Shan Masood made 37 in 226 balls across two innings of a Test. His one-day form in domestic cricket, though, has been sensational.
Asia Cup pedigree This will be their third appearance in the main competition, after they qualified in 2004 and 2008. They have yet to register a win.
Talking point The captaincy of the side changed hands on the eve of the qualifying competition in Malaysia, after Babar Hayat surprisingly stepped down.
Point to prove Anshuman Rath, the new captain, is wanted by English county side Middlesex, but has so far been unable to take up the offer because of UK Home Office rules.
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Asia Cup pedigree Sri Lanka’s success rate in the Asia Cup shows they punch far above their weight. They have five titles, and the best win percentage of any side.
Talking point Dinesh Chandimal has had a tough time of late. First he was suspended for ball-tampering. Now he has a broken finger. Niroshan Dickwella has been summoned as a replacement.
Point to prove Dilruwan Perera went from zero to hero last time Sri Lanka toured here, as he played a key role in their Test win against Pakistan last year. Sri Lanka will hope for more of the same.
Asia Cup pedigree Two runners-up finishes in the past three tournaments, although each of those was supported by the extraordinary home backing they have in Mirpur.
Talking point Shakib Al Hasan has a finger injury that requires an operation. He also arrived straight from holiday in United States to the UAE. Will he be ready?
Point to prove Offspinner Mehidy Hasan has been prolific with the ball in Test cricket, but pickings have been comparatively slim in his 11 ODIs so far.
Asia Cup pedigree Despite all the attention and headlines they have garnered over the past decade Afghanistan have reached the main event of the Asia Cup just once before.
Talking point Their leading players are becoming increasingly well-heeled via various T20 franchise leagues. The next one will be their own, in Sharjah next month.
Point to prove All of them. Afghanistan’s Test debut in India this summer was a humbling experience. Now back on the big stage, they want to show they can still play a bit.
Group stage fixtures
September 15 Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Dubai
September 16 Pakistan v Hong Kong, Dubai
September 17 Sri Lanka v Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi
September 18 India v Hong Kong, Dubai
September 19 India v Pakistan, Dubai
September 20 Bangladesh v Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi
Tickets for Dubai matches start at Dh35, and for Abu Dhabi’s games at Dh20. Visit https://dubai.platinumlist.net/asiacup for more information.
All the matches will be shown live on OSN Cricket HD.
From September 18 there will be an air-conditioned fan park at the Dome at Dubai Sports City, with a big screen showing the matches. Admission is free.