India, one of the most cricket-crazy countries in the world, will not be represented in cricket at the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. The decision was made due to prior commitments by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), who cited that the men’s and women’s teams are preoccupied with limited-overs series against South Africa and New Zealand, and the ODI World Cup, respectively. This means that cricket is the only sport where India won’t participate in the Games, which will be held from September 23 to October 8.
India is aiming for its best-ever performance at the Asian Games, but cricket won’t be a sport that will contribute to their medal tally this year. The country’s chef de mission for the Asian Games, Bhupender Bajwa, told Indian Express that the BCCI received 3-4 emails about participating in the Games, but they responded that they were preoccupied, resulting in the exclusion of the Indian cricket team from the event.
The BCCI has confirmed that they received the email from the Indian Olympic Association just one day before the deadline. Furthermore, the women’s team is scheduled to play South Africa and New Zealand in the limited-overs series, while the men’s team will compete in the ODI World Cup, which will take place in India in October-November. The BCCI has previously fielded two national teams on occasion, such as in 1998, when one Indian team competed at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, while another faced Pakistan in the Sahara Cup in Toronto, Canada.
It’s worth noting that cricket has been a part of two editions of the Asiad, in 2010 and 2014, but India skipped both meets. More recently, in 2021, Shikhar Dhawan led a second-string Indian team for a series in Sri Lanka, while another team, captained by Virat Kohli, was in the UK ahead of a Test series against England.
The BCCI’s decision to skip the Asian Games comes at a time when cricket is vying for a place at the Olympics. Just days after the Asian Games conclude, an International Olympic Committee session is scheduled to take place in Mumbai, where cricket’s possible inclusion in the Olympics will be decided. Therefore, India’s decision not to participate in cricket for the Asian Games is understandable, given the national teams’ prior commitments. However, it is still disappointing for cricket fans, particularly considering the sport’s absence from the previous two editions of the Asiad. It remains to be seen whether India’s decision will impact the sport’s chances of inclusion in the Olympics.
Source: Indian Express
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