Asia Cup is a multi-national tournament that features the top teams from the Asian region. It was first introduced in 1984 with three teams (India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan). The success of the inaugural season helped the organizers continue this unique tour once every two years. India won the inaugural season, beating Sri Lanka in the final.
Over time, six teams started to take part in this competition, and in 2016, for the first time, it was played in T20 format. So far, 15 seasons have been played (13 ODIs and 2 T20Is), and India, with seven titles, are the most successful team. Sri Lanka has won six, while Pakistan has won two. But as compared to Sri Lanka, both India and Pakistan have played one less season. So here we will check to see what the reason behind that was.
India missed Asia Cup 1986 after winning the 1984 edition
Team India, led by Sunil Gavaskar, became the champions of the inaugural Asia Cup edition in 1984, and Sri Lanka ended as runners-up. But despite that, India missed the next season in 1986, which took place in Sri Lanka, and the hosts won it. It happened because Sri Lanka had been in civil war since July 1983 between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The nation went through a violent period, losing a number of lives. Later, India withdrew from the 1986 tournament because of strained relations with Sri Lanka, who were the hosts. As a result, Bangladesh replaced India in the tournament and played their first two ODI matches in history. The main reason India did not take part in the 1986 season was the controversy that took place during India’s 1985 tour of Sri Lanka.
After getting ICC status in 1982, Sri Lanka won their first ever test series against India in 1985 under the leadership of Duleep Mendis. A number of umpiring decisions that were unfair ended against India. It made the Indian team not travel to Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup in 1986.
Pakistan missed the 1990 Asia Cup edition
India hosted the fourth edition of the Asia Cup in 1990. This season also saw only three teams take part. This time around, Pakistan pulled out of the tournament. India won the tournament, beating Sri Lanka in the final, while Bangladesh was the third participant. Notably, India toured Pakistan in 1989. Two big superstars made their debuts on that tour for their respective teams.
It was Sachin Tendulkar for India and Waqar Younis for Pakistan. But after that tour, border tensions between the two nations arose as there was a conflict in Kashmir over the Siachen Glacier. By the next year, it had become so bad that Pakistan decided to pull out of the 1990 Asia Cup held in India. Both nations decided not to visit other countries for any bilateral series until 1997/98. However, since 1990, all teams have taken part in the Asia Cup tournament.