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Indian cricket team to skip Asian Games

Last updated on: June 01, 2010 17:07 IST

Let's start with the news first.

India won't be sending a team for this year's Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India made an official announcement to this regard on Tuesday.

"We will not be able to send our team, either men or women, for the Asian Games in China because of our other international commitments," BCCI chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty confirmed.

"We have communicated the same to the Indian Olympic Association," he added.

The 16th Asiad, scheduled to be held from November 12 to 27, will witness cricket making its debut in its popular Twenty20 variant.

The Gentleman's Game's debut at the Asiad was approved at the Olympic Council of Asia's General Assembly in Kuwait recently and Monday (May 31, 2010) was the last day to confirm participation.

However, BCCI's decision means not only will the tournament lose its biggest face value -- the sport is more popular in India than any other country -- but also a loss of surefire medal (the colour notwithstanding) for India -- considering the country is not only a powerhouse in Asia, but also the world.

The board, while putting commercial interests above national pride, also reiterated its tacit policy -- of not playing under the aegis of the IOA.

As regards its international commitments, India would indeed be hosting New Zealand -- for three Tests and five one-dayers -- in Novemeber, a corresponding period to the four-year extravaganza.

However, the board could easily have sent a second string side to China.

In fact, the BCCI had done the same in 1998 -- when Mohammad Azharduddin led India for the Sahara Cup series against Pakistan in Toronto while Ajay Jadeja was the skipper of the cricket contingent at the Commonwealth Games at Kuala Lumpur -- the only occasion when cricket was played at the CWG.

But India performed poorly in Malaysia and the critics did murmur about the prospects being affected because of two separate teams.

The BCCI is definitely not willing to take the blame again.

Bikash Mohapatra Mumbai