New Delhi:Former BCCI President Sharad Pawar on Friday backed the cricket board's decision of not sending teams to the Asian Games, saying that prior commitments cannot be ignored under any circumstances.
The BCCI has been slammed by the Indian Olympic Association and several athletes for skipping the Asian Games in China but the former Board chief and Agriculture Minister said schedules have to be honoured.
"It was a collective decision... in fact an old decision. We have a calendar that is fixed for five years. You cannot bypass that calendar," Pawar told reporters.
Cricket was officially added to the Asian Games roster last August and India's back-out is a major setback for the sport in its debut year.
Pawar said with BCCI's international commitments already fixed it was difficult to spare the team for the Games.
"If some new event comes up, we cannot bypass the calendar. There are a lot of issues involved," said Pawar, also the ICC President-elect.
India will host New Zealand for three Tests and five ODIs during the time Games are held in Guangzhou (China) in November this year.
Former cricket captain Anil Kumble said he was disappointed by BCCI's decision, while boxer Vijender Singh has demanded scrapping of cricket from Asian Games since countries like India are not interested.