Pakistan won the Austral-Asia Cup for the third time out of three since its inauguration in 1985-86. But the most important event of the tournament was the return of India, who had avoided Sharjah for two and a half years, claiming that they were the victims of bias. They reached the final, just as they had on their previous visit. Their participation, however, was interpreted as a reconciliatory move in the preparations for the 1995-96 World Cup to be held in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Before both Pakistan - India matches, which were staged under strict security, the cricketers walked hand in hand to demonstrate that politics, not personal animosity, had kept them apart over the past two years.
The other teams taking part were Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the hosts, the United Arab Emirates. The Emirates, recent winners of the ICC Trophy, were playing their first full international matches; they replaced Bangladesh, who had appeared in the Cup four years before.
Sri Lanka were weakened by a dispute before their arrival; star batsman Aravinda de Silva was dropped for failing a fitness test and captain Arjuna Ranatunga and several others pulled out in protest. New Zealand were also without some of their senior players, giving Gavin Larsen his first chance to lead the side. The Australians were on their way back from South Africa, although some, including Allan Border, Craig McDermott and Ian Healy, had gone straight home; despite reinforcements, there was no regular wicket-keeper. Nevertheless, they were one of the stronger sides and their defeat by India in the semi-final was a surprise. New Zealand were more predictably beaten by Pakistan.
Note: Matches in this section were not first-class.
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