BCCI has to answer: Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Indian cricket’s participation at Asian Games

Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has to answer on the participation of national teams, both men and women, at the Asian Games 2022.

The Asian Games will take place in Hangzhou, China in September. Cricket, to be played in T20 format between September 10 and 25, will be making a return to the Asian Games for the first time since 2014.

Indian men’s and women’s cricket teams are likely to skip the Asian Games due to prior commitments. Cricket has featured at the Asian Games only twice – 2010 and 2014 – but the BCCI didn’t send teams on both occasions.

When India Today asked about Indian cricket’s absence from the Asian Games, Thakur dodged the question and simply said: “BCCI has to answer.”

India women’s team has a white-ball tour of England scheduled at the same time as the 2022 Asian Games, while men’s team has a T20 World Cup looming in Australia in October.

Earlier this year, the BCCI Secretary Jay Shah was quoted as saying: “As far as the Asian Games in Hangzhou is concerned, a final decision on whether to send men’s and women’s teams will be taken later and based on our existing commitments.”

However, the BCCI hinted that it will give preference to bilateral series especially after Covid-19 pandemic.

“The BCCI has always stood by member boards and helped them in these difficult times. The board firmly believes in honouring its bilateral commitments.”

Meanwhile, when asked about dropping of shooting from the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Thakur called the decision a blow to the Indian participation.

“Last time we had 16 medals (at the 2018 Commonwealth Games). This (dropping from the 2022 event) is a blow to Indian medal numbers at Commonwealth Games. These things are discussed at CWG meeting. IOA has to tell under what circumstances this decision was take. Nonetheless, 215 athletes will be participating,” Thakur said on the sidelines of kit unveiling and send-off ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Shooting, along with wrestling and archery, has also been dropped from the initial list of sports for the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

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