Asia Cup to continue under ICC
The future editions of the Asia Cup, beginning in 2016, will be conducted by the Asian Cricket Council, despite the downsizing of the regional body and the takeover of its development activities by the ICC. In a press release on Friday, the ICC formally announced its plan for the takeover of the ACC and said that its decision to manage the ACC's development initiatives was in line with a desire to integrate cricket's global development.
The Asian body will, however, host the Asia Cup with editions scheduled for 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2022. Qualification processes that could allow Associate and Affiliate Members to play in the tournament are also being reviewed. Several members of the ACC staff will take up roles with the ICC.
Outgoing ACC CEO, Syed Ashraful Huq, had announced a few days ago that the format of the Asia Cup would alternate between T20s and ODIs, giving countries like Nepal, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and UAE a chance to participate. The ICC, however, has not confirmed Huq's statements and has not released any information pertaining to the format of the Asia Cup.
"The ACC's development work has been fundamental to the growth and improvement of many Associate and Affiliate Members in Asia, particularly countries like Afghanistan, UAE and Nepal," ICC's chief executive David Richardson, said. "We therefore look forward to building on this success in order for cricket to become even stronger across the region."
The ICC's plans to limit the involvement of regional bodies in cricket development was revealed by Huq, in August 2014. The decision to downsize the operations of regional bodies came soon after changes to the ICC's financial and governance structures last year which were driven by the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The ACC's work in Asia had played a part in the improvement of Asian teams, including the celebrated rise of Afghanistan - who played the 2010 World T20 and their maiden World Cup earlier this year - and Nepal, who qualified for the 2014 World T20. While Afghanistan made it to the 2015 World Cup after finishing second in the World Cricket League Championships, UAE's second-place finish in the World Cup Qualifiers helped them enter their second World Cup after 1996.
The ACC's development work also extends to umpiring, coaching and other areas of cricket along with tournaments for the Under-16 and Under-19 age groups. It was set up in 1983 with the goal of promoting cricket in Asia and has 25 members at present, including the Test-playing countries of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.