India would be keen to keep their domination in the Asia Cup of cricket, the continental battle for supremacy, alive but they will face a stiff test from eternal rivals Pakistan. The first Asia Cup was held in 1984 in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates, with India becoming the inaugural winners. Since then, two teams have dominated the continental tournament -- India and Sri Lanka. While India have lifted the trophy six times (5 times in ODI format and once in the T20 format), Sri Lanka have won it on five occasions. Pakistan have somewhat disappointed in the tournament, having won it just two times. In 2015, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that the biennial tournament will be played in the ODI and T20I format on a rotational basis.
The first Asia Cup in T20I format was held in 2016 with India beating hosts Bangladesh in the final in Dhaka to clinch the title.
India will once again head to the Asia Cup 2018 as the favourites but this time around Pakistan could prove to be handful. The Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan side upset India in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final and have produced some solid performances since then.
India will also be without run-machine and captain Virat Kohli and that will be a big advantage for other teams.
Rival teams will also be looking at the fact that India have not done so well in the Asia Cup in the recent past. India might have won the 2016 Asia Cup but that was their first title triumph in the continental tournament since 2010.
After winning the inaugural Asia Cup in 1984, it was Sri Lanka that lifted the trophy two years later at home with India not taking part due to a political situation in the island country.
However, India reclaimed the trophy in 1988 with Bangladesh playing hosts. The Indian team then went on to win the next two editions as well (1990-91 and 1994-95) to make it a hat-trick of titles -- four overall.
However, post the triumph in 1994-95, India saw a downturn in fortunes. The Indian cricket team returned empty handed in the next four editions with Sri Lanka winning three titles in that duration and Pakistan winning one.
India, led by MS Dhoni, finally ended their drought in 2010, beating hosts Sri Lanka by 81 runs in the final at Dambulla.
Pakistan won the 2011-12 trophy with Sri Lanka taking home the title in 2013-14.
In 2016, the tournament was held in the T20I format, serving as a warm-up for the World Twenty20. The tournament was held in Bangladesh with India going unbeaten in the tournament and getting the better of the hosts in the final.