Cricket’s return to Asian Games 2022 delayed after Covid-19 outbreak in China

Cricket’s return to the Asian Games after a gap of eight years has been delayed with the tournament postponed until 2023. The 19th edition of the Games was supposed to take place between September 10 and 25 in Hangzhou but a surge of Covid-19 cases in China has forced a chance of plans.

Cricket made its debut at the Asian Games in 2010 in Guangzhou. In 2014, the last time it was part of the competition, Sri Lanka won the gold medal by beating Afghanistan by 68 runs in the men’s event, while Pakistan won the gold by defeating Bangladesh by four runs in the women’s event.

Then, in 2018, as part of a measure taken by the organisers to reduce the number of events, Cricket was cut from the list.

“Following detailed discussions with the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) and the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (HAGOC), the OCA Executive Board (EB) today decided to postpone the 19th Asian Games, which were scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China, from 10 to 25 September 2022,” the OCA said in a statement.

“The new dates of the 19th Asian Games will be agreed between the OCA, the COC and the HAGOC and announced in the near future.”

Earlier this year, it was reported that India – who have never participated in the Games before – are unlikely to field teams owing to existing commitments.

The matches were supposed to be played at the Zhejiang University of Technology Cricket Field, which was unveiled in July 2021.

Question marks had been raised over the last few weeks with Shanghai – which is 175 kilometres away from Hangzhou – having recently been locked down because of a Covid-19 outbreak.

Most international sporting events in China have been postponed or cancelled since the start of the pandemic, with the notable exception of the Winter Olympics, which went ahead in Beijing under strict health controls in February.

Hangzhou organisers said in early April that all 56 competition venues for the Games had been completed and test events were continuing as the lakeside city prepared to host more than 11,000 athletes from 44 nations and territories.

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