Cricket to make debut at 2006 Asian Games
NEW DELHI: Cricket will be played for the first time at the Asian Games during the 2006 meet in Doha, Qatar, in keeping with the sport’s growing popularity in the continent, a top sports official said on Thursday.
Limited-overs cricket will be one of the 40 disciplines to be contested at the December 1-15 Games, Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) secretary general Randhir Singh told reporters here. “Many countries, especially the West Asian ones, were keen that cricket be played at the Asian Games and the OCA accepted the proposal at its meeting held in Doha on July 1,” Singh said.
“We have spoken about it to the Asian Cricket Council and the details will be worked out soon.” There are four Test-playing nations in Asia – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – and cricket is played in almost all Asian countries, including China who were recently admitted to the International Cricket Council (ICC). Cricket, a non-Olympic sport, was introduced at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, but was discarded at the next edition in Manchester four years later due to the lukewarm response from the major cricketing nations. Asian giants India and Pakistan will have to reschedule their Test commitments in December 2006 in order to send full-strength teams to the Asian Games. India are scheduled to tour South Africa at that time, while Pakistan will be hosting the West Indies. However, both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be free then, according to the ICC’s 10-year Test schedule. The United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong have qualified for the six-nation Asia Cup limited-overs tournament to be held in Sri Lanka from July 16. afp