Cricket will be played for the first time at the next Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010. The decision to approve a proposal to include cricket in Guangzhou was taken at the Olympic Council of Asia’s General Assembly in Kuwait this week.

OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said, "India and Pakistan were the drivers. Pakistan and India will come with their best teams because it will be a big competition.” Asia’s four-Test playing nations have committed to sending their “best available teams.”

The first Asian Games was held in Delhi in 1951 and Guangzhou will be the sixteenth Games. Forty-two disciplines will be featured in Guangzhou, three more than in the 2006 Doha Games, including some uniquely Asian sports as kabaddi, sepaktakraw, chess and wushu. The Olympics have 28 disciplines.

OCA General Secretary Randhir Singh, also the Secretary of Indian Olympic Association, said China, although not a cricketing country, was keen to have cricket in Guangzhou. “As far as we are concerned we are ready," he said.

The Guangzhou Games will be played from November 12 to November 27 in 2010. Though India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be involved in home Test and ODI series during that month according to the ICC’s Future Tour Program, it is believed that once a schedule for the Twenty20 competition in Guangzhou is developed, truly the best players for that format will be available.

Cricket's expected inclusion at Guangzhou follows an announcement late last year that the 2008 South Asian Games in Bangladesh will feature cricket for the first time.

“Cricket will receive a major boost across Asia and in particular China, as a result of this enlightened decision. The Asian Cricket Council pledges its support to the Guangzhou games organizers in order to make the event a success,” said ACC Chief Executive Syed Ashraful Huq.

Filed April 18 2007

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