A major multi-nation tournament is around the corner and India are among the top contenders for the main prize. We are not talking about the ODI World Cup, but the Asian Games instead.
The rescheduled 2022 Hangzhou Games run from September 23 to October 8 and the cricket section will be held in T20 format.
The men’s cricket competition of the Games concludes two days after the start of the ODI World Cup in India, which means the top sides are sending second-choice squads.
India are among the countries who are represented at the Asian Games in cricket. Other familiar names include Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
This year, lesser known cricket nations of Mongolia, Cambodia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong will hope to create an upset or two and make it to the medal rounds.
Cricket was first introduced in the Asian Games in 2010 and even though the spotlight will be in neighbouring India for the World Cup, the return of T20 cricket at the Asian Games will be worth celebrating.
The matches will take place at the Zhejiang University of Technology Pingfeng Cricket Field.
Asian Games men’s competition:
September 27: Mongolia v Nepal (5am UAE time) & Cambodia v Japan (10am)
September 28: Malaysia v Singapore (5am) & Maldives v Mongolia (10am)
September 29: Cambodia v Hong Kong (5am) & Singapore v Thailand (10am)
October 1: Maldives v Nepal (5am) & Hong Kong v Japan (10am)
October 2: Malaysia v Thailand (5am)
October 3: Quarter-final stage – India v TBC (5am) & Pakistan v TBC (10am)
October 4: Sri Lanka v TBC (5am) & Bangladesh v TBC (10am)
October 6: Semi-finals (5am & 10am)
October 7: Third place play-off (5am) & Final (10am)
India and Pakistan will be among the favourites at the Asian Games. Both nations will be sending players with significant experience in international and T20 cricket. However, the unknown nature of surfaces in Hangzhou and the unique dimensions of the ground will make for interesting viewing.
Among the most prominent names in the competition will be IPL stars Ruturaj Gaikwad, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Rinku Singh. All three players have already made their international debuts and will now get a chance to win a medal for their country.
Pakistan will rely on familiar names such as batsmen Asif Ali and Haider Ali, as well as fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani and spinner Usman Qadir.
Below are the squads of the main teams that have been announced so far.
India men’s squad: Ruturaj Gaikwad (captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rahul Tripathi, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Shivam Mavi, Shivam Dube, Prabhsimran Singh (wk)
Pakistan men’s squad: Qasim Akram (captain), Omair Bin Yousuf, Aamir Jamal, Arafat Minhas, Arshad Iqbal, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Mirza Tahir Baig, Mohammad Hasnain, Muhammad Akhlaq (wk), Rohail Nazir, Shahnawaz Dahani, Sufiyan Muqeem and Usman Qadir
Sri Lanka squad: Sahan Arachchige (captain), Lasith Croospulle, Shevon Daniel, Ashen Bandara, Lahiru Udara (wk), Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Ahan Wickramasinghe, Ravindu Fernando, Ranitha Liyanarachchi, Nuwanidu Fernando, Sachitha Jayatilaka, Lahiru Samarakoon, Nimesh Vimukthi, Nuwan Thushara, Isitha Wijesundera