BCCI’s decision to not send Indian teams for the Asian Games on Saturday drew sharp criticism from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), which accused the influential cricket board of treating the sport just as a business venture.
“They have not sent the team for the second time to the Games. While I respect their decision, I am sorry to say and I believe they are not interested in promotion of the game but only in making it a business, in making money out of it,” said the OCA president at a media conference.
“The fact remains that they are looking at the financial situation and how to control the game. They are holding it too close to their chest like a baby but they need to realise that this baby has to grow.”
Cricket made its Asian Games debut four years ago at Guangzhou, where BCCI neither sent the men’s nor the women’s team.
Here too, after it was retained in the Games programme thanks to the persuasion of the OCA president, BCCI decided not to send its teams.
“Cricket is a very famous sport in that region and in the Commonwealth countries. It’s a top sport in India. All the athletes of various sports like Wu Shu, Kabaddi, Sepak Takraw which are not in the Olympic Games are participating in these Games. I am sad that the top athletes of cricket were not allowed to take part,” said Sheikh Al-Sabah.
He also said that by not sending them they are killing cricket and if this trend continued, the game can never become part of the Olympic Games but will remain confined to the Commonwealth.
“We believe in providing good environment for all the games,” he added.
Among the full ICC members, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh sent both men’s and women’s teams while Pakistan’s women’s team competed in Incheon. China and South Korea also took part in both men’s and women’s competition.(PTI)