NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan have been included in the same group for Asia Cup 2023 to be held in September, confirmed Asian Cricket Council President (ACC) Jay Shah while releasing the cricket calendar for 2023/24.
Also joining India and Pakistan for the tournament will be Bangladesh, defending champions Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and a team from the qualifiers. But in the calendar, there is no mention of the host venue for Asia Cup 2023.
Shah, who is also the Honorary Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), posted through his social media accounts the "pathway structure and cricket calendars" for cricket in Asia.
As per the calendar, ACC will organize 145 games in both ODIs and T20Is during its two-year cycle. On the further breakdown of the cycle, 75 games will be played in 2023 while 70 matches are set to happen in 2024. The men's emerging (U23) Asia Cup is also back again.
The women's Asia Cup will be held in September 2024 with India and Pakistan placed in the same group alongside a qualifier. Sri Lanka will be joined by Bangladesh and another qualifier in the other group.
As per the new calendar, 2023 will kick off with Men's Challengers Cup, a ten-team 50-over tournament, featuring Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Maldives, Thailand, Iran and two yet-to-be-named teams. Teams will be divided into two groups of five teams each.
In March, a Men's Under-16 Regional tournament, of 35 overs each, will be held. The tournament will feature eight teams, region-wise. The winners and runners-up of the previously mentioned Men's Challengers Cup will qualify for the Men's Premier Cup, a 50-over tournament.
The tournament will be played in April, comprising ten teams divided into two groups of five each. The teams are, UAE, Nepal, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, alongside qualifiers from Men's Challengers Cup.
June and July will see the Women's T20 Emerging Teams Asia Cup and Men's Emerging Teams Asia Cup in a 50-over format. After Men's ODI Asia Cup in September, there will be Men's U19 Challenger Cup, Men's U19 Premier Cup and Men's U19 Asia Cup in October, November and December respectively.
2024 will start off with Men's and Women's T20 Challenger Cup in February and March respectively. It will be followed by Men's and Women's T20 Premier Cup in April and May respectively.
The Women's T20 Asia Cup is held in September and will be followed by the Men's U19 Asia Cup and Men's T20 Emerging Teams Asia Cup in October and December respectively.