Race to Hero Asia Cup 2017 title begins tomorrow

Malaysia, Pakistan, India and Korea pegged to make the Super 4s stage

10 October
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Dhaka (Bangladesh), 10 October, 2017: The Hero Asia Cup 2017 will see eight teams competing for the coveted title at the Maulana Bhishani National Stadium here in Dhaka, Bangladesh starting October 11. But for teams like South Korea, Japan and China, it’s not only the title they are after, but a place in the 2018 World Cup in India. So far three Asian countries, hosts India, Malaysia and Pakistan have earned berths to the tournament.

Although many are in favour of defending champions South Korea to qualify for a remaining World Cup slot having won the previous two Asia cup in 2009 and 2013, the other three who have made it will be fighting for the world ranking points.

While the chase is on for the World Cup berth and ranking points, one significant factor that makes this edition more interesting is the change of format.

The 8 teams are placed in two pools and after playing three matches, the top two teams of each pool will move into another pool named the Super Fours and the bottom two teams of each pool will move to another pool to determine the 5-8th placing.

In the Super 4s pool the teams will play a round robin and the top two teams then proceed to the final.

It will no doubt tax the physical endurance as in normal circumstances teams need to play 6 matches and land the title, this time around it’s one game extra.

Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen said that this will pose a physical challenge to teams. “In the initial pool stage, teams have to fight to finish in the top two and then at the Super 4 stage every match counts,” said Stephen.

Coaches need to rotate their players as much as they can hence bench strength is important as the last four matches are virtually back to back with only one-day rest in between.

The Malaysians have never made the final of the Asia Cup but as the second ranked team in the tournament, they are optimistic they will be in the final on October 22.

India are on a team rebuilding exercise with new coach Sjoerd Marijne. But the expectations are high to lift the Hero Asia Cup.

“His strategies revolve around the trust factor. The more we trust each other the better we will play as a close-knit unit. He encourages sharing. He says none of the players should hesitate in coming forward with their views, even if they disagree with his suggestions. He welcomes dialogue and engagement,” said India skipper Manpreet Singh.

With four titles, South Korea is the most successful team besides being the defending champions from the last edition held in 2013.

However, they could well succumb under pressure in Dhaka as they have to win the title or risk missing out of the 2018 World Cup. The same applies to Japan, a team that created waves at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, by defeating Australia, but in the World League they were a pale shadow.

Early indications are that South Korea, Malaysia, India and Pakistan will make the Super 4 stage. However, do not discount the possibility of China and Japan upstaging the more fancied teams.

Introduced in 1982, the inaugural Men’s Asia Cup was won by Pakistan, who also won the next two editions in 1985 and 1989. Since then, India (2003, 2007) and Korea (1993, 1999, 2009 and 2013) have also been champions in the nine editions played so far.

Pool A: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan

Pool B: Malaysia, S Korea, China, Oman

ROLL OF HONOUR

Edition Host

1st 2nd

3rd

1st (1982) Karachi (Pakistan)

Pakistan India

China

2nd (1985) Dhaka (Bangladesh)

Pakistan India

South Korea

3rd (1989) New Delhi (India)

Pakistan India

South Korea

4th (1993) Hiroshima (Japan)

South Korea India

Pakistan

5th (1999) Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

South Korea Pakistan

India

6th (2003) Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

India Pakistan

South Korea

7th (2007) Chennai (India)

India South Korea

Malaysia

8th (2009) Kuantan (Malaysia)

South Korea Pakistan

China

9th (2013)     Ipoh (Malaysia) South Korea India

Pakistan

 

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Hero Asia Cup 2017

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