Cricket manages to stay in Asian Games

The Big Boys are not here, but the Asian Cricket Council, which made no secret of its disappointment and disapproval at India not sending a team to Guangzhou, achieved a major step by ensuring that the sport stayed on the programme for the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea. 
Even as the International Cricket Council looks at the United States as a future market, the ACC is elated at China taking to the game.
Syed Ashraful Haq, Chief Executive Officer of the ACC, said: “China’s debut at the Asiad means a lot to us. Without its involvement, cricket simply cannot be classified as an international sport.”
The Chinese women’s cricket team advanced to the quarterfinals in its first international appearance, and Haq added:“China’s cricket is on the right track now and our hard work has paid off.”
Earlier in the week, Haq also achieved a major win outside the cricket field, as the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) decided to cut non-Olympic sports from 14 to seven after the Guangzhou Asian Games. Haq managed to bat well for cricket and saved it from the axe.
“What they don’t understand is that cricket could add value to the Asian Games commercially. As the No1 sport in many countries like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, and non-Asian countries including England and Australia, the organisers could have made a fortune simply by selling broadcasting rights. “The sport could add 20 to 25 per cent financial value to the Games.”
He also feels that cricket’s presence in Asian Games is necessary for it to have Olympic dreams. Haq maintained that the women players did well at the Games and feels cricket is an acceptable sport for women in Muslim countries because there is no body contact and the players are covered.
About Chinese acceptance of the sport, he added: “They (the Chinese) knew absolutely nothing about cricket before the games, but look at them now. They know the rules, they can even comment on the matches.”
The men’s tournament starts from today.
By V Krishnaswamy