Ex-cricket greats call for Olympic push

Scott Bailey
(Australian Associated Press)


Cricket’s most powerful group of ex-players have urged Indian authorities to get behind the sport’s push for the Olympics or let the game suffer.

The introduction of Twenty20 cricket to the Olympics formed a key part of MCC World Cricket committee meetings held in Sydney on Tuesday and Thursday, with past players keen to push for the sport’s involvement.

Administrators have all but given up hope of gaining entry into the 2024 Games scheduled for Paris and have now turned their attention to Los Angeles in 2028.

However their biggest stumbling block is the Board of Cricket Control for India, whom they believe face issues with their own Olympic Committee.

“It’s one of those things that has frustrated me,” committee chairman Mike Gatting said.

“We would like to urge the BCCI to have a look at it again and support the main body of boards that would like to get into the Olympics as soon as possible.

“It seems strange that everyone else seems happy to get in there because it’s just going to be so good for the game.

“Free-to-air TV all over the world. It’s only once every four years. It’s not going to be a scheduling matter. It just seems they seem reticent to try and get involved.”

It’s understood the sport’s push for the Olympics is largely reliant on the support of each of the major cricket-playing nations.

The International Cricket Council has previously declared the majority of member nations are behind the push, along with chief executive David Richardson.

Ricky Ponting, who sits on the 14-person independent committee alongside the likes of Gatting, Kumar Sangakkara, Sourav Ganguly and Rod Marsh said players were also keen and commitment would be an issue.

“We’re very conscious of not lessening the product we’re putting out,” Ponting, who previously played at the Commonwealth Games in 1998, said.

“If cricket makes it into the Olympics it has to be the best players and showcasing the sport for what it is.

“The players would want it because of how beneficial they would see that being for the game going forward.”

The committee also discussed the importance of propping Test cricket up against lucrative Twenty20 leagues, heat laws, making helmets compulsory, standardising DRS technology and player associations becoming more involved in the reporting of concussions.

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