The Asia Cup is among the most coveted trophies in international cricket, with the largest continent being one of the fiercest in the sport as well. With a number of nations with a rich cricketing history like India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh competing, the eventual result is nothing short of spectacular.
The continental tournament was forged almost 40 years ago, and the first edition in 1984 saw only three teams compete in a league format. Since then the tournament has been shaped in several ways and forms. The number of participating nations has increased, with even a qualifying tournament also conducted behind the scenes during the buildup.
India and Pakistan have a famed rivalry and some of their best matches have been played at the Asia Cup. The two teams have won a combined total of nine titles, with India being the record holders with seven of them.
There has hardly been a time where either India or Pakistan have been short of talent, and that reflects in the players' outputs as well. Both nations have had match-winners putting their best foot forward in the competition over the years.
On that note, let us pick an all-time India-Pakistan Asia Cup XI.
Openers: Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma
Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma arguably pick themselves in the combined playing XI on the back of their exploits in this competition for years.
Tendulkar is the third-highest run-getter in the history of the competition, while Rohit is placed fourth on the same list. The former has scored 971 runs in 21 innings at an average of 51.10 and a strike rate of 85.47, while Rohit has 830 runs in 23 innings at an average of 48.82 and a strike rate of 86.63.
With Team India scheduled to play at least three more matches in the ongoing Asia Cup 2023, Rohit could be Team India's leading run-scorer in the competition.
Middle order: Virat Kohli, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, and MS Dhoni
Despite missing out on the 2018 edition entirely, Virat Kohli has made his mark in the Asia Cup since his early days. He scored only 67 runs in four innings in his maiden campaign in 2010 but had prolific campaigns in 2012 and 2014 to make his way into the list.
Overall, He has scored 617 runs in 11 innings at an average of 56.09 and a strike rate of 96.70. Kohli also holds the record of the highest individual score recorded in the competition.
Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq is the leading run scorer for Pakistan against India in ODIs and was part of the squad that won the 2000 Asia Cup. He has scored 591 runs in 13 innings at an average of 59.10 and a strike rate of 89.27.
Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik is the leading run-scorer for Pakistan in Asia Cup history. He has amassed 786 runs in 15 innings at an average of 65.50 and a strike rate of 90.65.
Legendary Indian cricketer MS Dhoni serves as the captain and the wicketkeeper of the combined XI. Having played across five different editions of the tournament, he holds the record for the most dismissals by a wicketkeeper and has also scored 648 runs in 16 innings at a strike rate of 87.68 and an average of 64.80.
All-rounders and bowlers: Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Wasim Akram, Saeed Ajmal, and Abdul Qadir
Ravindra Jadeja and Irfan Pathan are the leading wicket-takers for India in the competition's history. Both all-rounders have claimed 22 wickets, a record which Jadeja is bound to break sooner or later.
Wasim Akram is the leading wicket-taker among Pakistani pacers in Asia Cup history. The left-arm seamer has picked up 16 wickets in 12 matches at an economy of 3.22.
There are not many pacers who have made a prolonged impression at the Asia Cup when compared to the spinners, considering that the matches take place in subcontinent conditions.
Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal and Abdul Qadir make up the spin bowling department, which is quite an interesting dynamic on paper, backed by the numbers as well.
Saeed Ajmal's mystery spin left several oppositions clueless and as a result, he is the leading wicket-taker for Pakistan in the Asia Cup despite only playing sporadically over the course of three editions. He has taken 26 wickets in just eight matches with an economy of 3.98 and an average of 10.42.
Abdul Qadir, the famed leg-spinner, also tasted success in the early years of the competitions. He took 17 wickets in just eight matches with an economy of 3.62.
Will the combined XI at the peak of their prowess be able to defeat the current India or Pakistan outfit? Let us know what you think.