Cricket set for Asian Games return in 2022, say reports

Cricket is included in the sports programme for the 2022 edition to be held in Hangzhou, China.

Bangladesh had won the men’s title, in cricket, in 2010.   -  AP

Cricket is set to feature at the Asian Games once again after having been included in the sports programme for the 2022 edition to be held in Hangzhou, China, media reports said here on Sunday.

The decision was taken at the General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), according to insidethegames.biz. Cricket’s inclusion was expected as Randhir Singh, the OCA vice-president, had visited Hangzhou in February, 2019, to determine a suitable venue.

Cricket was omitted from the 2018 edition of the Asian Games, held in Indonesia, after having featured in 2010 and 2014. No Indian national cricket team, however, has ever participated in the Asian Games. “There is a lot of time to go for 2022 Asian Games. In due time, we will discuss and decide,” a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official told PTI.

Money minded

In 2014, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, the OCA president, had criticised the BCCI for not sending its teams to participate. “I’m sorry that India, for the second Games [in a row], did not send a team. I respect their decision but I believe the people in charge are not interested in promotion of the game but only in making it a business, in making money out of it. They want to control the market and control the game,” he had said.

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In India’s absence, Sri Lanka — among men — and Pakistan — among women — had clinched the gold in 2014. In 2010, Bangladesh clinched the men’s title, and Pakistan the women’s title.

Cricket has also been played at the Commonwealth Games, in 1998. India had sent its teams to participate. The team to clinch gold was South Africa, then led by Shaun Pollock.

In another major decision taken at the OCA General Assembly on Sunday, it was announced that countries in Oceania, including Australia, will be invited to compete at the Asian Games. The number of athletes from Oceania to be allowed to compete in Hangzhou will be decided at a later date, it was reported.