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The Briefing

A fair and insightful review of the only tournament in cricket that matters - the Asia Cup

Featuring a look ahead to forthcoming editions of the competition where the rules are made up and the points don't matter

"I'm making a point here, and to reinforce it, I'm pointing my finger while doing it"  •  AFP/Getty Images

"I'm making a point here, and to reinforce it, I'm pointing my finger while doing it"  •  AFP/Getty Images

The Asia Cup, which is the world's premier cricketing tournament for countries that tell their friends they hate each other but constantly send each other "U up?" texts, has finally ended.
As is standard for situationships of this nature, nobody is really fully happy with how it all went down.
So let's debrief. I guess.
Oh god.


For several tournament cycles, the ICC has unashamedly put India and Pakistan in the same group, or created a round robin structure in which they were sure to meet, in order to maximise broadcast and sponsorship revenue in world tournaments.
The Asian Cricket Council has tried to make as many Pakistan vs India matches as possible happen as well. But some idiot team, from a country called Sri Lanka, keep screwing up the schedule for broadcasters and sponsors, partly because of their rain.
In light of these capitalist misadventures, here is a proposed list of rules for the next Asian tournament.
- India vs Pakistan matches will always have a reserve day. This much is obvious.
- If the reserve day is not enough to get a completed game, the match will go into a third day. Any matches between lesser teams scheduled on that third day to be played in the car park with a tennis ball or whatever they can find, who cares.
- India and Pakistan always start in the same group, but also importantly always have the weakest opposition in the tournament in their group.
- If Nepal become a formidable side by the start of next Asia Cup, the tournament expands to seven teams, and Nepal get put in the group with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh etc, and India and Pakistan play in a three-team group featuring, say, Mongolia.
- In the Super Four stage, do away with the pointlessly complicated net run rate. If there are teams on equal points, country with highest population goes through.
- This is unless Bangladesh officially pass Pakistan's population numbers. In which case, we go back to NRR.
- Each ACC member takes turns hosting the tournament. Meaning, they rotationally get the chance to guess the exact venues and schedule the BCCI wants, as that is what ends up happening.



Marks out of 10: 432, as a tribute to whoever was doing the calculations in the team's dressing room when they could have qualified with big shots against Sri Lanka in the last group game.
High point: Almost beating Sri Lanka in a major tournament.
Low point: Almost beating Sri Lanka, then learning that if they had had better information, they could have knocked Sri Lanka out.


Marks out of 10: 4, because while they seemed like a team that should be able to challenge the traditional Asian powers, in this tournament the good performances came too late.
High point: Beating India in the last Super Fours game.
Low point: Doing the thing that most people expected them to do - kind of compete, but also fall well short.


Marks out of 10: Full marks for playing their part perfectly in this tournament, by letting Pakistan, then India, walk all over them.
Low point: Losing by 238 runs against Pakistan.
High point: At Himalayan elevations, everything is high.


Marks out of 10: Who's gonna argue with a 10 to India? I want to live.
High point: Rohit Sharma jokingly asking those setting off fireworks outside the stadium to just wait till they'd won the World Cup.
Low point: No, but really, are these guys safe?

Sri Lanka

Marks out of 10: Let Dasun Shanaka pick this since he can get up to 10 and make a double figure score at last.
High point: Charith Asalanka taking the team home, off the last ball, against Pakistan.
Low point: Getting blasted out, for 50 all out in the final.


Marks out of 10: Full marks to the seam bowlers. Not so many marks to the spinners.
High point: Shadab Khan making Virat Kohli laugh during an exchange during the rain breaks of that first "Pakistan vs India final".
Low point: Having no faith they could do it again.
*The Briefing condemns this spelling of the tournament name in the harshest possible terms, and invites ridicule on anyone who would sound it out as "Jaysia" while reading.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf