Asiad: Tickets selling out for China's first cricket tournament

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The Independent Online

Cricket might be a little-known sport in China but tickets for the Asian Games tournament are selling fast, the Asian Cricket Council said Thursday.

Within hours of going on sale, all tickets for the first two days - Saturday November 13 and Sunday November 14, along with Sunday November 21 - sold out.

The first weekend features women's matches, with China playing Malaysia, Japan facing Nepal, Pakistan taking on Thailand, and Bangladesh against Hong Kong.

The second Sunday marks the start of the men's tournament when sporting heavyweights Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh get going, although India have controversially decided to stay away.

"It's an encouraging sign that China's and Hong Kong's matches are going to have so much support," Hong Kong Cricket Association General Manager Danny Lai said on the Asian Cricket Council website.

Cricket's induction at the Games came after the International Cricket Council identified China as one of the major new markets along with the United States for the development of the sport.

Games organisers have built a 12,000-seater cricket-specific stadium at the Guangdong University of Technology to host the tournament.

With just one ground available, organisers opted for the shorter Twenty20 format to fit in the men's and women's competitions.

Cricket was last seen at a major multi-sport event at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, but was dropped for the next three editions in England, Australia and India.