Annesha Ghosh is a freelance sports journalist. @ghosh_annesha
The 2022 Women's Asia Cup will be held at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium in Bangladesh, from October 1 to 16, with seven teams competing in the T20 tournament.
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is yet to officially announce the dates of the tournament, but the details were confirmed to ESPNcricinfo by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) women's committee chairperson, Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel.
The tournament will take place after the 2022 Women's T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE concludes in the last week of September. The ICC released its first-ever women's Future Tours Programme last week, in which the first two weeks in October had been earmarked for this year's Women's Asia Cup.
According to the tournament itinerary accessed by ESPNcricinfo, India - the most successful team in the history of the competition - Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and UAE, are the participating nations besides the hosts, and will arrive in Bangladesh on September 27 and September 28.
"The proximity to the airport and the hotel where the seven teams are expected to stay makes the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium the best choice for the BCB," Chowdhury, who is also a BCB director, told ESPNcricinfo on Monday. "Ground 1 of the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium is where we are looking to host the Women's Asia Cup matches and Ground 2 is where the training will take place."
No women's international matches have been held in Bangladesh since Pakistan's tour of the country in October 2018. The 2022 Asia Cup will also be the first time since the 2014 T20 World Cup that Sylhet will host any women's international fixtures.
"As host nation, Bangladesh has delivered several major men's and women's continental and world events in the past," said Chowdhury. "This year, we are happy to welcome the Asian Cricket Council's Women's Asia Cup to our country for the first time, specifically to Sylhet, which was home to matches during the 2014 men's and women's T20 World Cups, too."
With Bangladesh recently being named by the ICC as the hosts of the 2024 Women's T20 World Cup, Chowdhury said talks are firming up between the BCB and the ICC to stage the knockouts of the world event at the Sylhet International Stadium.
"We are making all arrangements to welcome spectators, including school students, for all the matches of the Women's Asia Cup because we want to generate substantial interest around women's international cricket and the Bangladesh women's team leading up to the 2024 T20 World Cup," Chowdhury said. "We are planning on advertising both tournaments well given we are working with the ACC and ICC to make the Asia Cup and the 2024 T20 World Cup, respectively, a success.
"As things stand, we might even see the semi-final and final of the 2024 T20 World Cup also being played in Sylhet, so we are looking forward to putting up a good show for the Women's Asia Cup. The ongoing 12th edition of the Women's National Cricket League is also being played in Sylhet, so there's already a fair bit happening in the city as far as women's cricket, especially in the T20 format, goes."
The Women's Asia Cup - which has been played in the T20 format since 2012 - is usually a biennial competition, but was last held in 2018 with unfancied Bangladesh clinching a final-ball thriller over six-time winners India in Kuala Lumpur, to lift their maiden major title. The 2020 edition, which was scheduled to take place in Bangladesh and later postponed to 2021, was eventually cancelled.
Among the seven teams set to play, UAE and Malaysia booked their berths through the qualifying route after entering the final of the 10-team ACC Women's T20 Championship that took place in June. UAE, undefeated and eventual champions in that competition, defeated the hosts Malaysia in the final by five wickets.