Asian Games success will boost cricket’s hopes for 2028 Los Angeles Olympics

India’s men’s team, led by Ruturaj Gaikwad, enters a multi-discipline event for the first time since 1998, bolstering cricket’s Olympic ambitions.

Published : Sep 18, 2023 21:49 IST - 3 MINS READ

Leading the charge: Gaikwad has been handed the reins of the men’s team for the Asian Games. Cricket has featured twice at the Asiad but did not figure in the last Games in Jakarta in 2018.
Leading the charge: Gaikwad has been handed the reins of the men’s team for the Asian Games. Cricket has featured twice at the Asiad but did not figure in the last Games in Jakarta in 2018. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Leading the charge: Gaikwad has been handed the reins of the men’s team for the Asian Games. Cricket has featured twice at the Asiad but did not figure in the last Games in Jakarta in 2018. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Cricket’s journey in the Asian Games has seen notable changes over the past decade. In 2010, Bangladesh won the inaugural tournament, and Sri Lanka claimed victory in 2014, with Afghanistan finishing as the runner-up and India remaining absent both times.

However, recent years have brought a shift in perception. The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are showing interest in multi-sport events like the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. India’s women’s cricket team won silver at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and now both men’s and women’s teams are set to compete in the Asian Games, aligning with the ICC’s goal of Olympic inclusion in 2028.

While cricket’s fate in the Olympics rests with the International Olympic Committee, the ICC is actively advocating for it. They emphasise the massive cricket fan base, particularly in South Asia and the USA. The potential for increased media rights income is a significant incentive.

The ICC’s efforts include forming an Olympic Working Group and proposing T20 cricket as the ideal format for the Olympics.

While the IOC is expected to reach a conclusion during its session in Mumbai in October, India’s participation in the Asian Games is being labelled as a step in the right direction.

“The Olympics brings people together — not just cross-country and cross-continent, but also cross-sport. And, that’s why I am absolutely in favour of cricket coming into the Olympics. It will be a great addition if the discipline makes it to the Olympics especially for India, because for us to get our women’s team and our men’s team in cricket into the Olympics not just gives us more chance of winning more gold medals or silver medals or bronze, but also includes all other sports as well.” Leander Paes (Olympic medallist)

“Since the ICC is keeping India as a benchmark, the BCCI’s decision to field a strong women’s team and an equally competent men’s team is an indication that India has also warmed up to the idea of including the sport in the multi-sport events,” says a former ICC board member, adding: “T20 cricket has changed the dynamics of cricket over the last one-and-a-half decade, and it’s only apt that this format has been preferred by the ICC for the Olympics bid.”

Historically, cricket’s Olympic inclusion has faced challenges due to facilities and scheduling. Still, the Asian Games serve as a crucial platform for India’s men’s team, marking its multi-discipline event return since 1998. Ruturaj Gaikwad has been named captain for the Asian Games T20 competition. Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, and Jitesh Sharma also feature in the 15-member squad.

With the men’s ODI World Cup scheduled to begin in India on October 5, two days before the end of the Asian Games cricket event, the BCCI has named a second-string men’s side. The same goes for other Asian heavyweights as well, taking the sheen off the tournament with the first-choice players forced to sit out. However, the Indian women’s squad in Hangzhou will be at full strength.

India’s participation boosts cricket’s ongoing quest to be part of the Olympics.


India women’s cricket squad
Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (wicket-keeper), Amanjot Kaur, Devika Vaidya, Pooja Vastrakar, Titas Sadhu, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Minnu Mani, Kanika Ahuja, Uma Chetry (wicket-keeper), Anusha Bareddy
Standby players: Harleen Deol, Kashvee Gautam, Sneh Rana, Saika Ishaque
India men’s cricket squad
Ruturaj Gaikwad (captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rahul Tripathi, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wicket-keeper), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Shivam Dube, Prabhsimran Singh (wicket-keeper)
Standby players: Yash Thakur, Sai Kishore, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Sai Sudarsan


Women’s cricket schedule
Match 1: Hong Kong vs China - 9:30 AM (Round 1)
Match 2: Nepal vs Singapore - 2:30 PM (Round 1)
Match 3: Indonesia vs Malaysia - 9:30 AM (Round 1)
Match 4: Winner of Match 1 vs Winner of Match 2 - 2:30 PM (Round 1)
Match 5: UAE vs Bhutan - 9:30 AM (Round 1)
Match 6: Thailand vs Oman - 2:30 PM (Round 1)
Match 7: India vs Winner of Match 4 - 9:30 AM (Quarterfinal 1)
Match 8: Pakistan vs Winner of Match 3 - 2:30 PM (Quarterfinal 2)
Match 9: 3rd VS Winner of Match 4 - 9:30 AM (Quarterfinal 3)
Match 10: 4th VS Winner of Match 5 - 2:30 PM (Quarterfinal 4)
Match 11: Winner of QF 1 vs QF 2 - 9:30 AM (Semifinal 1)
Match 12: Winner vs QF 3 vs QF 4- 2:30 PM (Semifinal 2)
Match 13: Loser of SF1&SF2 - 9:30 AM (Third-place match)
Match 14: Winner of SF1&SF2 - 2:30 PM (Final)
Men’s cricket schedule
Match 1: Oman vs Saudi Arabia - 9:00 AM (Round 1)
Match 2: Hong Kong vs Singapore - 2:00 PM (Round 1)
Match 3: Malaysia vs Bahrain - 9:00 AM (Round 1)
Match 4: Nepal vs Indonesia - 2:00 PM (Round 1)
Match 5: Qatar vs Kuwait - 9:00 AM (Round 1)
Match 6: UAE vs Bhutan - 2:00 PM (Round 1)
Match 7: Afghanistan vs China - 9:00 AM (Round 2)
Match 8: Winner of Match 1 vs Winner of Match 2 - 2:00 PM (Round 2)
Match 9: Winner of Match 3 vs Winner of Match 4 - 9:00 AM (Round 2)
Match 10: Winner of Match 5 vs Winner of Match 6 - 2:00 PM (Round 2)
Match 11: Pakistan vs Winner of Match 8 - 9:00 AM (Quarterfinal 1)
Match 12: Sri Lanka vs Winner of Match 9 - 2:00 PM (Quarterfinal 2)
Match 13: Bangladesh vs Winner of Match 10 - 9:00 AM (Quarterfinal 3)
Match 14: India vs Winner of Match 7 - 2:00 PM (Quarterfinal 4)
Match 15: Winner QF1 vs Winner QF4 - 9:00 AM (Semifinal 1)
Match 16: Winner QF2 vs Winner QF3 - 2:00 PM (Semifinal 2)
Match 17: Loser SF1 vs Loser SF2 - 9:00 AM (Bronze medal match)
Match 18: Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2 - 2:00 PM (Final- Gold medal match)
**QF- Quarterfinal
**SF- Semifinal

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