Asia Cup returns to Bangladesh, switches to Twenty20 format

Bangladesh has been confirmed as the host nation of the 2016 Asia Cup, with the national team cricket tournament set to switch to Twenty20 format for the first time.

Next year’s event will mark the third consecutive occasion that the biennial Asia Cup has been held in Bangladesh. The five-nation tournament will feature the hosts, along with India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and an associate team. It will run from February 24 to March 6.

The Asia Cup has traditionally been held in the 50-over one-day international format, but will switch to the shorter 20-over form of the sport ahead of India’s staging of the 2016 World Twenty20. The 2016 Asia Cup final will be held five days before the World Twenty20 is scheduled to begin.

“Pakistan raised the point that Bangladesh should host next year's Asia Cup and everyone agreed,” Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan said, according to the ESPN Cricinfo website. “Four Test nations will get direct entry while one associate nation will come through the qualifying tournament.”

Afghanistan, Oman, Hong Kong and the UAE will battle for the final Asia Cup slot in a qualifying tournament to be held at the end of November. The 2016 Asia Cup will mark the fifth time that Bangladesh has hosted the competition.