Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board has decided against sending the national team to the 17th Asian Games, to be held in Incheon, Korea in September-October in order to save funds.
A PCB official said the Asian Games cricket event was meant for under-23 teams and it had been decided not to send the team this year.
"We sent our team to the last Asian Games but we will only be sending our women`s under-23 team for the regional event`s cricket tournament this time," the official said.
The official said the general feeling was that already the players in the under-23 category were being given lot of training and exposure and the women`s team needed it more. "The idea is also to save funds since the board has to bear the expenses of sending the team for the Asian Games cricket event as neither the Pakistan Olympic Association nor the Pakistan Sports Board give any funds to us," he added.
The PCB`s decision has come under scrutiny since the feeling is that with no international teams coming to Pakistan the emerging players hardly get a chance to play against international teams and the Asian Games would have given them an opportunity.
Former international player Ghulam Ali said that even if the cricket event was played on astro turf or matting in Korea, it would help Pakistan`s young players in honing their technique.
Cricket was included as a medal sport for the first time in the last Asian Games in Guangzhou, China where Pakistan men`s team finished third behind Afghanistan and Bangladesh while the women`s team won the event.
A source said that the PCB`s decision could also be based on the fact that the Asian Cricket Council, which would organise the cricket event in the Games, was facing a battle for survival.