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Gilchrist wants Olympic cricket

Adam Gilchrist
Adam Gilchrist has only recently retired from international cricket

Former Australia star Adam Gilchrist has called for the sport's Twenty20 format to be adopted as an Olympic event in time for the 2020 Games.

Gilchrist, a multiple World Cup and Ashes winner who scored more Test runs than any other wicketkeeper, is on a mission to spread cricket globally.

He said: "We have a responsibility to grow our game in new territories and amongst the women of the world.

"I believe the Olympic Games is the vehicle the sport should use."

Gilchrist, 38, retired earlier this year after a staggering career, which saw him marked by many as a once in a generation cricketer.

He played in the first season of the new Indian Premier League - a money-spinning Twenty20 tournament - in the spring. And he has now urged the International Cricket Council to "sell the sport" to the International Olympic Committee.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Oliver Brett

The ICC was supportive of such a move in 2007, when its then chief executive, Malcolm Speed said: "The long-term objective is to have cricket in the Olympics."

Speed also cited Twenty20 as the best format for the Games.

Gilchrist, writing in India's Deccan Chronicle, said: "Cricket was part of the 1900 Olympics, when Great Britain beat France. But with Twenty20 cricket here to stay, now is the time for the 10 full-member nations of the ICC to plan for the development of the sport over the next 100 years.

"Over the next century, the challenge for all of us who love the game is to spread the word of cricket to parts of the globe that have never heard of it and currently don't play our sport."

Gilchrist envisaged the Twenty20 format could become popular in countries such as the US, China, Italy, France and Japan, which could all provide strong men's and women's teams.

It would create strong interest in the Olympics in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia chief executive

Those nations participating in the Olympics could then pave the way for Test cricket to be played in more countries, he said.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said: "Cricket Australia supports cricket being included in the Olympics in future, given that cricket already has a strong global following.

"It would create strong interest in the Olympics in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, a region which is home to more than 20% of the world’s population."

The last time cricket was seen at a multi-nation major sports event was the 1998 Commonwealth Games, when South Africa won gold, beating a full-strength Australia side in the final, playing 50-overs-a-side cricket.

But the tournament was not considered a success, and has not been seen at subsequent Commonwealth Games.


see also
Cricket handed Olympic lifeline
11 Dec 07 |  Olympics
Cricket seeks Olympics inclusion
29 Aug 07 |  Cricket
Cricket makes Olympics bid
18 Jun 04 |  Cricket


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