KUWAIT -- The Olympic Council of Asia has green-lighted cricket's inclusion in the 2010 Asian Games, which will feature more sports than ever before.
The decision to approve a proposal to include cricket in Guangzhou was taken at the OCA congress here, with the ball now in the Asian Cricket Council's court to decide on a format and other necessary details.
If the ACC agree to push ahead, heavyweight nations such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are expected to field their top teams.
"Cricket will be played in 2010, but bodybuilding will be cut from the schedule," OCA chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah told Agence France-Presse.
"India and Pakistan were the drivers. We are discussing with them how we can arrange it. Pakistan and India will come with their best teams because it will be a big competition."
The Guangzhou games will feature 42 sports compared to 39 at the last Asiad in Doha in December.
There had been a push within OCA member nations to cut the number of sports, but plans to dump cue sports and 10-pin bowling, among others, were this week shelved. Instead, more disciplines will be included.
"Although they tried to remove some things like cue sports and bowling, the organizers this week asked for them to be brought back, so Guangzhou will host 42 sports," said the Sheikh, without saying what other events were being considered.
By comparison, the Olympic Games hosts just 28 events, with sports such as kabaddi, sepaktakraw, chess and wushu unique to the Asian Games.
Cricket was last seen at a major multi-sport event in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, but was dropped for the next two editions in England and Australia, two major cricketing powers.
The sport made its one and only appearance at the Olympics in Paris in 1900, where in a two-day match Great Britain -- represented by touring team Devon and Somerset Wanderers -- beat France, whose team mainly consisted of members of the British Embassy.
Its expected inclusion at Guangzhou follows an announcement late last year that the 2008 South Asian Games in Bangladesh will feature cricket for the first time.