ACC surprised by BCCI's pullout from Asian Games
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC), the body that lobbied to get cricket included in the Asian Games, says it was caught off guard by the BCCI's decision to not send its teams to the event in China in November.
"It has come as a surprise for us," Ijaz Butt, the ACC president, told the Pakistani paper Dawn. "To pull out at the eleventh hour without any notice or information is surprising to say the least. Everyone had agreed in principle to send teams for the event."
On Tuesday, the BCCI had announced it would not be sending a team to the games due to international commitments.
The council has not yet formulated a response to the BCCI's decision because Butt has been unable to get in touch with Indian board president Shashank Manohar. "I have been trying to get in touch with the BCCI president to find out what prompted him to take the sudden decision. Until I get to hear from him, I can't make a comment," he said.
Butt, who is also the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, confirmed Pakistan would be sending a team to China, but it would be a second-string side as their main players will be involved in a month-long series against South Africa in the UAE at the same time. "We will send a good team of youngsters and have already selected a preliminary squad of 30," Butt said.
The Pakistan government has championed the effort to spread cricket in China, going so far as to appoint PCB director-general Javed Miandad as a cricket ambassador to China. "We will send a team to the Asian Games as it is our commitment and China is our close friend," Miandad said.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chose to stand aside and let the ACC handle the situation. "The ACC worked really hard to get cricket included in the Asian Games," IOA secretary-general, Randhir Singh, told Reuters. "So, it is their responsibility to take up the issue with the BCCI."