The 11th South Asian Games to be held in Dhaka at the end of January will feature cricket for the first time. Seven of the eight countries at the Games at time of writing, hosts Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan (the exception), India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will play Twenty20 cricket contested by their U-21 teams.

With the Games being under the umbrella of the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia, and with more disciplines than ever before (23 in all), the Games are the largest sporting event to be ever held in Bangladesh.

"This year's South Asian Games will provide a good marker for the Asian Games to be held in China later in the year where cricket will also be played for the first time. Cricket finding new platforms for performance and exposure for new players can only be a good thing,” says ACC Chief Executive Syed Ashraful Huq. “A chance for the Test-countries to meet the non-Test ones at U-21 level, as well as the T20 format, will create every chance for the matches between them to be competitive,” he added.

Nepal have beaten Bangladesh, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa in previous U/19 World Cups, with Afghanistan (ACC U-19 Elite Cup Finalists in 2009) already being an ODI nation with a large batch of talented youngsters to choose from.

Cricket to be in South Asian Games

Filed Jan 6th, 2010