Reluctant to join the Asian Games bandwagon at first, latecomers India are by no means the laggards in the cricket tournament at the Hangzhou edition. After refusing to participate in the two editions involving cricket, the BCCI decided to field strong teams this time. Though the men’s competition will see a second-string men’s team due to the Asian Games clashing with the World Cup schedule, India will be the odds-on favourites to win gold.
Made up of top IPL performers such as batters Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma and Rinku Singh, and bowlers Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh, the Ruturaj Gaikwad-led team will thrive in the T20 format. Expectations for gold will be even higher from the full-strength women’s team. Led by Harmanpreet Kaur, the team includes India stars such as Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma. In both men’s and women’s competitions, India, along with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, will get direct entry into the quarterfinals stage.
3This is only the third time, after 2010 and 2014, that cricket has been included in the Asian Games. Pakistan won both times in the women’s section, while Bangladesh and defending champions Sri Lanka have one title each in the men’s category.
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