After making its debut at the 2010 Asian Games at Guangzhou (China) in 2010, cricket could get a short shrift at the 2018 Games in Jakarta with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the host organisation mulling reduction in the number of disciplines at the quadrennial event.
Though the BCCI has not sent its men’s or women’s team to the Games in the 2010 Guangzhou and 2014 Incheon editions, cricket has caught the fancy of countries such as China and South Korea, who hired coaches from India and other cricket-playing countries to train their players.
In fact, Bangladesh and Afghanistan send their senior national teams, while Pakistan too sends teams with a fair sprinkling of national players, though the men’s team didn’t compete at Incheon Asian Games. But the Indian cricket Board cited the packed schedule as the reason for skipping the Games, despite repeated requests from the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) to, at least, send its women’s team.
The OCA announced on Monday that the maximum number of sports at the Jakarta Asian Games would be 42 and the maximum number of events would be 484. However, it added that the number could be reduced and cricket, paragliding and jetski may be axed depending on a “number of issues” related to the sports’ Asian federations.
The 18th Asian Games will run from August 18 to September 2 next year.
Another major issue could be the venues. The OCA on Monday warned that the hosts faced a big challenge to complete the venues on time and that coordination --- or the lack of it --- between different bodies was a major concern.
OCA director-general, Husain Al-Musallam, who completed a three-day visit to Indonesia was quoted as saying that, “There was some progress, particularly in the city of Palembang, which is co-hosting the games with Jakarta…The challenge in front of the organising committee is huge. The challenge they have is the cooperation between themselves, between the different departments.”
But secretary of Indonesia’s sports ministry, Gatot Dewa Broto, was quoted as saying by AFP that there was no issue. “We don’t have any problem with coordination,” he said, adding that “President Joko Widodo personally leads regular cabinet meetings to discuss preparations for the Asian Games.”
Jakarta bagged the rights to host the Games in 2014 after the original hosts, Vietnam, pulled out citing financial constraints.