Cricket could still feature at the 2018 Asian Games ©Getty Images

Cricket could still feature at the Jakarta-Palembang 2018 Asian Games, with organisers working to ensure all of the continent's best teams are present, it has been claimed. 

The sport has featured at the last two editions of the Games, at Guangzhou 2010 and Incheon 2014, but had appeared set to miss out on the next edition after it was not included on a list of six non-Olympic sports proposed for inclusion by the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) earlier this year.

Cricket and bowling have both since been put forward by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to complete a 37-sport lineup, although full confirmation has not yet been given. 

"We’re still working on it to be in the programme," OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah told insidethegames here at the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly.

"In Asia they have good teams in cricket.

"After Incheon, we hope that the best teams will come.

"We hope to have good teams in this event, but are waiting to see their reply."

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, who won men's gold, participated at Incheon 2014, while Pakistan were absent from the men's event but won gold in the women's competition.

India, one of the world's most successful cricketing nations, opted not to attend and were fiercely criticised and "accused of killing cricket" for taking this stance by Sheikh Ahmad afterwards.

Asian Games at both Guangzhou 2010 and Incheon 2014
Cricket took place was part of the Asian Games at both Guangzhou 2010 and Incheon 2014 ©Getty Images

Cricket, which appeared at the Paris 1900 Olympics, subsequently failed to apply for inclusion at Tokyo 2020, despite being International Olympic Committee-recognised and therefore entitled to.

Since then, they have had an apparent change of heart and are calling for a meeting with the IOC to discuss inclusion at more multi-sport Games.

Twenty20, the discipline showcased at the Asian Games, would be the most likely form to one day feature at the Olympics, although indoor and six-a-side forms have also been suggested.

"If they follow IOC procedures, they will have their chance like other Ifs (International Federations), and maybe they can pass the regulations and can be part of the Games," added Sheikh Ahmad, the Kuwaiti who also heads ANOC.

"But they have to work.

"Short matches achieve the requirement of any multi-sport Games."

If this is to happen, ensuring support from India will be key, with Sheikh Ahmad admitting this is an important hurdle to overcome.

In the meantime, the Commonwealth Games appears a more likely platform for inclusion, with cricket currently being considered as a potential addition to the Durban 2022 programme.

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