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Star Sports to broadcast Asia Cup 2016 in English and Hindi

MUMBAI: Star Sports will broadcast the upcoming Asia Cup 2016 in English and Hindi. The event, which kicks off on 24 February, will be played in T20 format for the first time.

Star India had bagged the media rights of the Asia Cup earlier this year in a deal that will run until 2023 and also include the Women’s Asia Cup, Emerging Asia Cup and Under-19 Asia Cup.

India will start off their campaign against hosts Bangladesh in the tournament opener on 24 February, then taking on arch-rivals Pakistan on 27 February.

India will then lock horns with current Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka on 1 March in their bid to lift the cup. The tournament guarantees a riveting battle for supremacy between three world T20 champions and an emerging challenger.

The Asia Cup is the only multinational tournament in international cricket apart from the ICC events. Traditionally played in the 50-over format, this year’s edition of the biennial tournament will be played in the T20 format for the first time in its history, adding fast-paced excitement to what already promises to be a sizzling contest.

The Asia Cup assumes even greater significance than usual this year. The tournament will allow competing teams to hone their skills and try out different team line-ups and combinations in preparation for the ICC World T20, which starts on 8 March 2016.

Star India COO Sanjay Gupta said, “The Asia Cup is among cricket’s most high-profile events. The contest sets the stage for a clash of the subcontinent’s and arguably the world’s cricketing titans. What already promises to be a highly charged contest is set to be even more explosive this year with the switch to the T20 format. Star Sports, which has made a commitment to foster a multi-sport culture in the country, looks forward to broadcasting every bit of the action live.”

Asian Cricket Council (ACC) president Thilanga Sumathipala said, “The Asia Cup marks one of the most important events in the cricketing calendar for the Asian countries and it will be a good build up to the ICC World T20 later this year. I am aware the officials have worked tirelessly to make this event a success and I thank them for their efforts. Let me take this opportunity to wish all participating teams the very best of luck, and hope the teams play the tournament in the true spirit of the game.”

In the addition to the aforementioned teams, one of the UAE, Oman, Hong Kong and Afghanistan (associate nations) will get the unique opportunity to be in the mix with these sub-continental giants for the Asia Cup. The associate nations will compete in qualifiers starting 19 February in Bangladesh.