Inclusion of Cricket in 2022 Asian Games.

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Inclusion of Cricket in 2022 Asian Games.

This petition made change with 47 supporters!
Adithya A started this petition to Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and

Asian Games is a popular sports event held once in every four years to boost the spirit of Asian Brotherhood since the 1950s. But, Cricket was included only in the 2010 Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China. Cricket is a popular sport in South Asia. But, the participation of teams was not limited traditional cricket outposts. The success of cricket’s inclusion in the 2010 Asian Games was evident when the Japan Women’s Cricket Team won the Bronze medal. The members of the Japan Women’s cricket team were completely ethnic Japanese. They had full time job as students or workers and were forced to train for cricket only during weekends. Since cricket is not a popular sport in Japan, there were limited places to practice the sport. The cricketers had to travel long distances from Tokyo to reach the grounds and do their weekly practice. This has made it difficult for majority of Japanese cricketers to keep up with the gruelling routine as there was shortage of time and funds. Japan Women’s historic Bronze medal victory was not much recognised by the Japanese media as there were other sports that brought them better results. But the Japanese Women were proud that their hard work finally bore fruit. Their coach, Katrina Keenan was a former New Zealand Woman Cricketer played a significant role in Japan’s success in this event. This paved way for cricket in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea. The Korean National Cricket Team for both Men and Women was formed comprising of complete ethnic Koreans according to the Asian Games regulation. Most of the players who offered to represent Korea Cricket were beginners who never had experience of playing cricket. Some were prominent baseball players while others were members of the Sungkyunkwan Dragons University Cricket Team. The team faced similar obstacles like their rivals, Japan. The team went through a lot of hardships to acquaint with the sport. Finally, the moment came when Korean National Men’s Cricket team played their first match in front of the anxious Korean crowd who were witnessing cricket for the first time. The team found immediate success and qualified for the Quarter Finals with a solitary win over China. They faced one of Asia’s strongest cricket teams, Sri Lanka. Korea won the toss and decided to bowl first. Though Sri Lanka dominated the proceedings, Korean Bowlers triggered a batting collapse to restrict Sri Lanka to 172/8 in 20 overs. The Sri Lankan team took advantage of the poor batting skills from Korea as they were bowled out for just 55 runs. Sri Lanka emerged as eventual champions by beating Afghanistan in the Finals by 68 runs. The Korean Men’s team achieved a phenomenal feat by playing competitive cricket against a quality team like Sri Lanka with just 12 months of experience of playing cricket. The opportunity to play cricket is very limited for these players as there is poor recognition from the local fans, poor infrastructure and funding. The tournaments organised by International Cricket Council and East Asia Cup are the only events that see proper cricket action among these countries which don’t take place often. Therefore, Asian Games was viewed as a great platform for these players to play competitive cricket against teams like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and other quality cricket playing nations. It will be a dream for such nations to play against such opponents due to the complex hierarchy system of dividing teams by the International Cricket Council and teams like Korea and Japan are in the bottom of the food chain. Stricter regulations made it hard for these teams to participate in global events. International Cricket Council believes in globalising the game. In recent years, many associate nations have benefitted by the awarding of T20I status (Eligible to play 20 over matches) to all the member nations. Another major breakthrough was to increase the number of teams with ODI status (Eligible to play 50 over matches) and awarding them a place to compete in the official rankings table. The move has benefitted associate nations that can play 50 over cricket. But, majority of the member nations could only afford to play 20 over cricket, given the limited resources and training period. The difference between winning and losing in Regional Qualifier matches is so close that it can play a crucial role in the progress or relegation of the team. Progress indicates that the team gets better opportunities within a short time period and relegation makes the team’s situation even more pathetic. International Cricket Council has assisted such member nations with travel expenses but that did not have much change to the never ending drought of investment in such potential cricket playing nations especially from East Asia Region that have significant native population playing the sport. The Big Three which include India, Australia and England get the majority of funding to develop the game in the respective nations. From the Asian Region, India has the largest share of funding and that has reflected on the team’s astounding performance and quality of infrastructure in recent years. This was plausible due to a large fan following in the Indian Subcontinent compared to other Asian Regions. Therefore, other associate nations get just a small share of resources. But, Asia continues to host large number of emerging cricket playing nations like UAE, Hong Kong, Nepal, Thailand and Qatar. Hence, the inclusion of cricket in Asian Games will ensure fair share of opportunities for all cricket playing nations in Asia to experience the quality cricket of some of the best teams in Asia. Among majority of Asian Countries that play cricket, International Cricket Council and Asian Cricket Council has invested a lot of faith in China Cricket Association by offering maximum fixtures available for a lower ranked associate team. China hosting the largest population in Asia was expected to excel in the sport. But, the Chinese men and women’s team continued to lose matches by large margins to almost any team that they faced. Cricket’s absence in the Olympics has been cited as the main reason for China’s lack of seriousness towards the sport. But, China Women’s team expressed their hunger for more opportunities after registering a historic 1 wicket win over the higher ranked team Hong Kong and registered close contests against established teams like Thailand, UAE and Nepal in the T20 World Cup Qualifiers for Asian Region. Meanwhile Chinese Olympic Committee is planning to replace cricket with E-sports in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou. This decision has hurt the sentiments of Cricket Fans across South Asia and Cricket players representing their own country and other Asian Associate countries. Cricket is the sport that has the second largest fan following after football. Yet, the game was removed from the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta despite having a strong cricket foundation at grass root levels in Indonesia. This move dashed the hopes of many aspiring cricketers who continue to remain unrecognised in their own countries and could not showcase their talents due to lack of opportunities. Hence, this decision must be reconsidered by the Chinese Olympic Committee and Olympic Council of Asia, as it involves the careers of potential athletes. The International Cricket Council should ensure that cricket is played in major tournaments like Asian Games for a melting pot of different nations to experience the beauty of this sport that has a special place in the hearts of millions of fans across the world. I would like to thank everyone who will support me and let's hope that victory for cricket prevails. 

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