The Indian men’s cricket team at the Asian Games will miss captain Rohit Sharma, vice-captain Hardik Pandya, ace batter Virat Kohli, and other ODI regulars.
Following the historic announcement of India’s men’s and women’s cricket teams’ participation in the Asian Games 2023 will be hosted in Hangzhou, China, in September-October, the BCCI confirmed on Saturday that no World Cup-bound cricketers will be considered for selection in the Asian Games men’s team. It effectively means that India’s first-ever men’s cricket team for the Asian Games will be missing regular captain Rohit Sharma, vice-captain Hardik Pandya, star batter Virat Kohli, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, keeper-battler KL Rahul, pacers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj, as well as other ODI regulars.
“The BCCI will send both men’s and women’s teams to the Asian Games, which will be held in Hangzhou, China, in September 2023.” However, due to the overlap in schedules of the Asian Games and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, the BCCI will select players from the World Cup who are not participating in the Asian Games to play in the Asian Games,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said after the 19th Apex Council meeting on Friday in Mumbai.
The Asian Games will be held between September 23 and October 8. Cricket, a team sport that takes time will likely be played till the final day of the event. It makes participation impossible for India’s elite cricketers, who will be preoccupied with the ICC World Cup 2023 preparations. The 50-over event will begin on October 5 in India. On October 8, India will play their opening match against Australia.
BCCI, like the other nine World Cup countries, will name a 15-man roster and hold three official reserve players. As a result, India’s men’s team for the Asia Games will not include the 18 cricketers selected for the ODI World Cup.
It was previously believed that the Indian team for the Asian Games would be led by Shikhar Dhawan, who is not in contention for a World Cup spot. Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma, and Mukesh Kumar, among others, could make their India debuts in the Asian Games, which will be played in T20 format. Those who just missed out on a World Cup spot might also be eligible for the Asian Games. For example, while both Ruturaj Gaikwad and Yashasvi Jaiswal are unlikely to be chosen in the World Cup 18 as backup openers, one of them (if not both) might be named to the Asian Games squad.
The women’s team will have no similar problems. A full-strength squad will go to China for their first Asian Games led by regular captain Harmanpreet Kaur. Notably, the Indian women’s team finished second in their first Commonwealth Games debut last year, losing to Australia in the final.
Cricket will be included in the Asian Games for the third time. Previously, India did not send their men’s or women’s teams to the Asian Games in 2010 and 2014.
When picking their squads for the Asian Games, the men’s teams of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan will likely confront a similar problem.
Besides approving India’s participation in the Asian Games, the BCCI made several other significant decisions. The BCCI will develop a protocol for its players (including retired players) to participate in abroad T20 leagues.
The BCCI will continue to use the Impact Player concept in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in the coming season, with two differences from the previous season and the Indian Premier League: a) teams must select their playing XI along with four substitute players before the toss, and b) teams can use the Impact Player at any time during the match. The Impact Player could only be used before the 14th innings in the preceding Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy season.
To equalize the rivalry between bat and ball, the BCCI has opted to use two bouncers each over in the forthcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The BCCI will work in two phases to upgrade stadiums in the country: (a) the first phase will involve upgrading the venues of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, with work completed before the World Cup begins; and (b) the second phase will involve upgrading the remaining venues.
Soon, the BCCI will issue a policy on overseas T20 leagues for retiring players: Mr. Jay Shah.
The Apex Council also opted to apply the Impact Player rule to domestic T20 competitions.
The BCCI has begun regulating former players’ involvement in international T20 leagues. The Apex Council, which met here on Friday, did not impose any cooling-off period for participants.
“We will be coming out with a policy to prevent the trend of pre-determined retirements,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah told reporters. “Once the policy is decided in a month or so, we will send it back to the Apex Council for approval.”
Indians who proclaim their international retirement and exit the IPL can play in T20 competitions abroad. However, an increase in the number of retired players no longer in IPL contention playing in abroad T20 tournaments has irritated BCCI authorities.
The Pathan brothers (Irfan and Yousuf), Parthiv Patel, S Sreesanth, and Stuart Binny, will compete in the Zim Afro T10 league in a week. Ambati Rayudu will play in Major League Cricket in the United States. Earlier this year, Robin Uthappa and Yusuf Pathan competed in the ILT20.
Many of these players are past their prime, but their presence in competing leagues helps them attract sponsors and TV eyeballs. That is what BCCI wishes to avoid. However, the Indian board’s position is that it is a proactive measure to prevent talent drain.
“It’s not easy to force retired players to cool off because they’re not under contract,” remarked one player on condition of anonymity.
It is expected that the board will seek legal advice on this matter. The BCCI may even request that retired players obtain NOCs (no objection certificates), the guidelines for which are still being developed.
The BCCI also extended the Impact Player rule from the IPL 2023 to the domestic Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy. There will be a few changes based on feedback from all stakeholders following the IPL. In the IPL 2023, teams would name a squad of 15 at the toss, and one impact player might be introduced at any time, thereby turning the game into a 12-a-side affair.
While former Mumbai captain Amol Mazumdar is scheduled to take over as head coach of the India women’s team, batting and bowling coaches will soon be interviewed. Former India offspinner Nooshin Al Khadeer has joined the Indian team in Bangladesh as an acting coach.
The Apex Body also approved India’s participation in the 2023 Asian Games, both men’s and women’s teams.
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