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Twenty20 to debut in Guangzhou

THE sound of leather against willow will be heard for the first time at an Asian Games next year after the Olympic Council of Asia announced that cricket had been added to the program yesterday.

Earlier this week, the OCA general assembly gathered in Kuwait and approved a proposal to include cricket as a discipline at the 16th edition of the multi-sports event in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province.

The popular Twenty20 format has been selected for the 2010 November 12-27 Games, with gold medals available for both men and women.

"India and Pakistan were the drivers," OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said in a statement.

"Pakistan and India will come with their best teams because it will be a big competition. Asia's four test-playing nations have committed to sending their best available teams," the statement added.

India beat Pakistan in the final of the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa two years ago.

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the four test-playing nations from the region, had automatically qualified for the competition along with host China, the statement said.

Other member countries will vie for the remaining three slots through a series of qualifiers.

Guangzhou will showcase three more disciplines than the previous edition in Doha three years ago, taking the total number to 42.


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