Karachi: Pakistan`s former captain Sadiq Muhammad, who is in charge of the national team that is taking part in the Asian Games cricket event, has expressed his disappointment over India`s absence from the meet.
"It is a good thing that cricket has been included for the first time in the Asian Games... I see it as a first step towards cricket one day getting entry into the Olympics, that is why it was important for the Indians to be part of the Asian Games cricket event," Sadiq told newsmen here before leaving for China with his team.
The Indian cricket board decided not to send its men`s or women`s teams for the Asian Games T20 cricket event due to its pressing international and domestic commitments.
The BCCI`s decision has been criticised by other participating countries and by the Indian Olympic body also.
Sadiq noted that Pakistan also has plenty of commitments at the moment but still sent its men`s and women`s teams to the Games.
"Just having India participate in the games would have been a big boost for the globalization of cricket, particularly in China," the former Test opener said.
In India`s absence, the Pakistan women`s team made it to the final of the Asian Games event and Sadiq said the men`s team also got a bye in its first match and would now play in the quarterfinals.
He backed the decision to have cricket in the Asian Games and insisted that, for cricket to become a truly global sport, it needed to be part of multi-sport competitions.
The captain of the Pakistan team, Khalid Latif also voiced similar feelings and said that he would have loved to play in a Indo-Pak final in the Games.
Although the Pakistan national team is presently playing South Africa in the United Arab Emirates and the A team is also touring the West Indies, the PCB still decided to send a squad to the Asian Games.
Sources said the decision to send a team to China was taken on the insistence of former Test captain, Javed Miandad, who is the cricket ambassador of the Pakistan government in China.
Miandad himself has gone to China for the Games and has expressed his satisfaction with the response cricket got in the Games.