The 64-medal haul, including 14 gold medals, in Guangzhou is anyway India's best in the Asian Games. But wouldn't you and I have been even more delighted had the tally increased by two more medals?
But that was not to be, thanks to a lop-sided decision by the Board of Control for Controversies (oops, Cricket). Cricket's inclusion in the Asian Games was being looked at as a steppingstone towards an Olympic entry, which has been given a fillip by the rise of Twenty20 cricket. But for the larger goal to be achieved, the game's success at the continental extravaganza had to be gauged.
But because of a packed men's international calendar and the BCCI's decision to stay away from both the men and women's events, the experiment failed to get any attention in cricket's biggest market.
One can understand the BCCI's reluctance to field their men's team with the senior team busy with international assignments and the fringe players and juniors competing on the domestic circuit. But the Board's decision not to send the women's team to Guangzhou was unfathomable. Instead of making them sit at home doing nothing, the BCCI could have fielded a team for the Asiad. Being the premier Asian team, Jhulan Goswami's girls were strong contenders for gold.
"A gold medal was a given had the team participated," Shubhangi Kulkarni, former India captain and a member of the BCCI women's cricket committee, said. "But all that we were told was that it was a Board decision not to field a team."
An Asiad gold would not only have added to India's record tally but also given a boost to women's cricket, which is hardly noticed despite quality performances in rare international series.
With all the top Asian nations playing bilateral series across the globe, nobody had expected them to field their top-rung men teams. But like Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the BCCI could have fielded an emerging players' bunch that would have gained a lot from the exposure.
In fact, Anil Kumble, the former India skipper who is to run a youngsters' grooming programme for the BCCI, is learnt to have hinted at leading a side of emerging players to Guangzhou. But once the BCCI bigwigs have made up their mind, they seldom pay heed even to the greatest of cricketers.
The main reason, according to the BCCI officials, for not participating in the continental extravaganza: "We are not affiliated to the Indian Olympic Association."
That bizarre reasoning only lends credence to the belief that this is the BCCI's team and not strictly India's. With cricket set to be retained as a discipline for the next Asian Games, all that one can hope for is that the BCCI gets over it's petty arrogance and looks towards contributing to the nation's medal haul.