Cricket’s debut at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, later this year will be sans crowd-pullers India as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said on Tuesday it would not field a team in the multi-discipline event.
“We will not be able to send our team for the Asian Games because of international commitments,” BCCI chief administrative officer, Ratnakar Shetty, said.
“We have communicated the same to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).”
Though the BCCI has cited international commitments as the reason, the controversy surrounding the cricket governing body’s compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is said to be the key reason for its decision to stay away from the event.
Ever since cricket’s inclusion in the Asian Games, the WADA compliancy issue has cropped up time and again. With India cricketers not agreeing to WADA’s whereabouts clause, the BCCI is yet to accept the norms.
A BCCI official said the Board didn’t have a choice. “We have a series against New Zealand, which clashes with the Asian Games, and the domestic season will also be in full swing. The WADA issue did make the BCCI helpless with regards to the Asian Games participation,” he said.
“The IOA had clearly said it would be difficult for any team to be fielded till we were fully WADA-compliant.”
The IOA, on the other hand, accused the BCCI of arriving at a “wrong” decision. “We are very disappointed, they have made a wrong decision, I will write to the BCCI to reconsider their decision,” IOA secretary general, Randhir Singh, who is also secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Asia, said.
Singh, however, clarified that the IOA would not allow BCCI to field a second-string unit. “We won’t accept that. They will have to send their best team if they want to participate,” he said.