IOA, OCA want Indian cricket teams at Asian Games

NEW DELH (TIP)I: With only a day remaining to send entries for the Incheon Asian Games, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) as well as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday said they would make a last-ditch effort to ensure the Indian cricket teams’ participation at the Games. The Board of Control for Cricket in India did not field both the men’s and women’s cricket teams at the Guangzhou Games four years ago and it is unlikely they would send teams to the Incheon Games starting next month.

But the Indian Olympic bosses are optimistic that they might be able to convince BCCI in time. “The deadline for sending entries is August 15. I will talk to BCCI bosses tomorrow and request them to send the teams to Incheon. From an Indian fan’s point of view, the cricket team’s participation would make the Games more attractive,” IOC secretary general Rajeev Mehta told TOI. “If they can, we have a good chance to add to our medals tally there,” he added.

According to a list on the Asian Cricket Council website, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are the two Test-playing nations which will feature in the men’s competition to be played in the Twenty20 format. If India were to send a team, it would be a second-string side as the Incheon dates (Sep 19-Oct 4) clash with Champions League T20 (Sep 13-Oct 4) where four IPL teams will figure.

The women’s team for the event includes Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. “The OCA has always insisted on including cricket in the Games. China are playing cricket so are some other countries. So if India can field their teams, it would help the game popularise in the region,” OCA secretary general Randhir Singh said. “I feel they should send their full-strength teams as the Asian Games is a major event for the region.

I think IOA should convince the BCCI as well as the International Cricket Council (ICC) to make India play,” he added. ICC president N Srinivasan has already made it clear that there was reluctance on part of many cricket boards on joining the Olympic bandwagon.

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