Cricket is making its debut as an Asian Games sport, but - without a ball being bowled - it has already made such a big impact that the Olympic Council of Asia has asked Incheon to include it on the medal roster for 2014. The South Koreans were not happy at encountering this unexpected bouncer at yesterday's OCA executive board meeting, as they have to make room in a programme that will be cut from 42 sports to 35 after the Guangzhou Games. In a move to reduce costs for future hosts, the OCA decided last year that the number of events would be cut to the 28 Olympic sports plus seven chosen by the host city. The South Korean Olympic Committee picked baseball, tenpin bowling, kabbadi, sepak takraw, softball, squash and wushu. The OCA has now asked the committee to drop two of these sports and include cricket and karate. The Koreans do not have a team in either the men's or women's cricket competition, in which the Twenty20 version will be played, and the national sport of taekwondo is preferred to the Japanese martial art. 'Cricket is very popular and very influential in Asia, especially in South Asia,' OCA vice-president Wei Jizhong (pictured) said. 'It not only brings us spectators, but it is also very popular in TV ratings.' Tickets for the opening weekend at the Guangdong University of Technology Cricket Stadium have sold out. But what the OCA must be eyeing more is the massive revenue-earning prospect from television. Even though the world's top-ranked test team, India, will not take part in the Games, the event will be followed by millions of fans throughout South Asia. Karate's case was pushed by Japan Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda, who said the sport was practised in 178 countries, 39 of them in Asia, with 34 taking part in Gaungzhou. 'Karate has an Asian sport culture and is very popular,' Takeda said. Incheon organisers have been presented with a fait accompli - include cricket and karate at the cost of two of the sports of their own choosing. Baseball, softball and tenpin bowling are widely popular in South Korea and are expected to bring medals for the hosts in 2014. Kabbadi and sepak takraw have been at the Asian Games since 1990 and will be hard to dislodge, which leaves squash and wushu the two most likely sports facing the axe. 'Incheon will have to make a decision quickly, within a day, because if they don't, the OCA will take that decision for them at the General Assembly [today],' a spokesman for the governing body said.