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Syed Ashraful Huq, the chief executive of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) believes that China's foray into the game will boost the chances of cricket making it as an Olympic sport.
"China's standing as the world's leading sporting nation can play a major role in influencing future Olympic rosters," Huq was quoted by the Associated Press of Pakistan. He said that China's say could help cricket's chances to make it to Olympics and that's why the game needed to be developed in the country. "I don't know if cricket can make it into the London Olympics in 2012, where it could have demonstration status, but maybe the one after that."
Huq indicated that although over a 100 countries played the sport, a major nation like China playing the game could help it qualify as a truly global sport. He felt that cricket's debut at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games will give the game a fillip in China.
He expressed confidence over the game's progress in Asia. "Eventually cricket will become the biggest game in the Asian Games - the number one, because it is seen by the most and it is followed by the most," he said.
Huq, who visited Guangzhou to see the cricket facilities being developed for the Asian Games, also praised the Pakistan Cricket Board for their assistance in promoting the game in China.
Cricket has been played only once at the Olympics, in 1900, though only one match was played, between England and France. Cricket also featured in the 1998 Commonwealth games in Malaysia.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.