Bengaluru, September 12: The Asia Cup was founded with the aim of fostering cricketing ties between the South Asian neighbours and through with it the bilateral relations. But unfortunately, the Asia Cup became a victim of politics - more often in the 80s and 90s. India did not travel to Pakistan or vice versa and often India and Sri Lanka too found themselves at the opposing ends occasionally.
One such instant was the 1986 edition - the tournament's second - of the Asia Cup. It held in Sri Lanka but India did not travel to defend their title. The off-field reason was the civil war in Sri Lanka between the government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The movement that started in 1976 was at its bloodiest peak in the mid 80s.
The India Government did not want to risk the security of Indian cricketers going to Sri Lanka at that juncture. It has been reported then that the Indian players too were unhappy to go to Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup because of all the controversies took place during India's tour of Sri Lanka in 1985.
Since becoming a full ICC member in 1982, Sri Lanka celebrated their first ever series win three years later when Duleep Mendis and his band outplayed India under Kapil Dev. But several umpiring decisions went against Indians leaving them a disgruntled lot during the series.
In short, the Asia Cup 1986 held without India while Bangladesh were drafted into the tournament for the first time. But by all means, it was a two-horse race between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Pakistan began the tournament with a bang beating hosts by 81 runs.
Sri Lanka needed a win against Bangladesh to seal the final berth and they did it without breaking much sweat with Asanka Gurusinha and A Kaushik doing the star turn.
Paceman Kaushik was Sri Lanka's star performer along with Arjuna Ranatunga. Kaushik took four wickets as Pakistan were restricted to 191 for i9 in 45 overs. Ranatunga made a fine 57 off 55 balls as Sri Lanka romped past the target 42.2 overs. For Pakistan, leg-spinner Abdul Qadir took three wickets.