The 15th Asia Cup begins on Wednesday where Nepal clash with hosts Pakistan, the number one team in ODIs, at Multan.

But are Nepal good enough to test Pakistan in the longer white-ball format?

I am afraid not.

With due to respect to Nepal, associate countries get very little ODI experience.

Would you believe this is the first time they will be playing an ODI match against Pakistan?

After getting ODI status in 2018, Nepal have just played three ODI games against full-member teams during this year's World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

These three matches came against hosts Zimbabwe, Ireland and West Indies.

Naturally, you can't expect Nepal to turn up on Wednesday and give Pakistan, the world's number one ODI team, a run for their money.

In the T20 format, there are more chances of an upset because the format is short and any team can beat a top side.

But in the 50 overs format, you need long-match temperament. This is where the associate nations are struggling in international cricket at the moment.

I genuinely believe the associate nations like Nepal who have shown tremendous improvement in the T20 format also deserve more chances to play the 50 overs games against top teams.

The passion for cricket is massive in Nepal now as people follow their team quite religiously.

But all their highs have come in the T20s. While it's a great achievement for them to qualify for the Asia Cup, I fear they will be completely out of their depth against Pakistan and India in Group A.

We also have to see the larger picture here. The one-day format could be in trouble as well if teams are reduced to playing most of the matches in the multi-tournament events amid the growing number of T20 franchise tournaments.

There cannot be a bigger example than West Indies who were once the undisputed kings in ODI cricket after winning the first two World Cups.

But they lost their way since the late 1990s. And such is their misery now that they could not even qualify for this year's ODI World Cup in India.

For the good health of the game, the ICC must find the perfect balance between all formats and also give associate teams more exposure in the ODIs.

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