Ganguly and Fleming support global proposal for 2020 Games August 5, 2008

Waugh joins Olympic Twenty20 push

Cricinfo staff

Steve Waugh said the 1998 Commonwealth Games was the "time of my life" © Getty Images

Steve Waugh, who led Australia to a Commonwealth Games silver medal, is part of a growing group of current and former players who have supported Adam Gilchrist's push for Twenty20 to be part of the 2020 Olympics. Gilchrist raised the idea on Monday and since then a series of big names, including Kumar Sangakkara, Sourav Ganguly and Stephen Fleming, have climbed on board.

Waugh, a mentor of the Australian Olympic team in Beijing, said the idea was "definitely worth pursuing". "If you want to globalise the game then you have to look at including countries like China and the United States, and getting cricket into the Olympics will fast-track that move," Waugh told the Press Association.

In 1998 Waugh captained Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and said it was the "time of my life". "Winning the silver medal was one of the highlights of my career," he said. And he believes Twenty20 will become a "worldwide phenomenon" over the next few years.

"The Olympic Games would provide the perfect platform to showcase the game to a larger audience, drawing in new fans and helping drive cricket development in emerging cricket countries," Sangakkara wrote in the Times of India. "The snowball effect this could be enormous. 2020 may seem like a long way away but we need to start the process now.

"From a player's perspective, the privilege of competing at an Olympic Games would undoubtedly be a highlight of your career."

The proposal has also received backing from Fleming, Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh. While Fleming and Gilchrist have retired from internationals, they are both involved in the Indian Premier League and see huge potential in the Twenty20 format.

"The Olympics would be the greatest vehicle to spread the game worldwide and it would be a logical fit," Fleming said in the Australian. Ganguly also took a global view of the possible development.

"It will help the players to be part of a worldwide movement," he said in the Deccan Chronicle. "Cricket is an exciting sport and should definitely be part of the Olympics."

Laxman said representing India at an Olympics would be a "great honour" while Yuvraj felt it was an excellent initiative. "Should cricket make it to the Olympics," he said, "it would be significant, especially to our country where the game is most loved."

Gilchrist said his proposal was a "call to arms for the game's administrators" and James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, is excited by it. "When you think of the Olympics, you also think of the big nations like the US, Russia and now China," Sutherland told the paper. "Those regions are clearly potential growth opportunities for cricket and we see Twenty20 at the Olympics as a superb vehicle."

For cricket to be included in 2020 it would need to be approved by the International Olympic Committee in 2013. The game received Olympic "recognition status" last year, but it faces a battle with other sports, such as golf, karate and baseball, to become part of the programme.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lloyd on August 6, 2008, 12:28 GMT

    As usual cricket is behind, it should be the 2012 Olympics in England. To wait 12 more years is an eternity -look how many more greats will retire without competing for an Olympic Medal ? Why are we letting cricket be treated like the step-child ? We didn't make use of the opportunity when the Olympics were held in Australia, we must do so in 2012 in England or the game will recede in the world,as it is doing in the West Indies. has a petition going to get cricket into the 2012 Olympics, we must take our rightful place in the world. Tendulkar will soon have the most Test runs ever but like all the great cricket athletes before, no Olympic Medal.

  • Ben on August 6, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    I think cricket for 2020 games is a fantastic idea. Cricket is not currently on the list of sports already listed for the 2012 london games and i see no chance how that will change.

    Cricket will only become a sport after the IOC approves it seven years before the event. This will mean serious lobbying for spots in the 2016 games as the submission must be made in the next year.

    I do not believe the comments that cricket will find it hard to gain global acceptance. Australia, Asia, Africa and the Americas do not seriously play EUROPEAN handball do they?

    Cricket for 2016.

  • mateen on August 6, 2008, 9:21 GMT

    I absolutely think cricket should be included as a challenge and not to mention worldwide sport in te 2020 olympics. Cricket will offer more to the fans than baseball, karate, or golf, because in cricket you experience excitement and anticipation rather every second you're watching/encountering it. Since, say baseball, is regarded more by the "western world", the olympic management group should strive to include a sport in the 2020 olympics that is not only unique, but new to many countries of the world. This, therefore, can help the growth of cricket worldwide and encourage "new" countries to adopt it as a national sport. If cricket is to survive in the future, it needs acknowledgement from other non-cricket countries and needs to occupy the "big stage."

  • Eugene on August 6, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    if small sports like handball and archery/shooting are at the olympics why not bigger sports like 2020 cricket and 7s rugby

  • Midhun on August 6, 2008, 7:16 GMT

    Cricket should definitely be included in the Olympics...the easiest way for the game to get world wide acceptance is it to be played on a big stage & what more bigger than the Olympics.The biggest disadvantage would have been the time period but with the entry of 20-20 thats also been solved.Many people have suggested that the game will be played only by the expats..maybe it would take place for the first 2 Olympics but by then,the seriousness of the game would have been understood & the natives itself would be attracted to the game...

  • Sazzadur on August 6, 2008, 6:50 GMT

    T20 is one of the exciting game to me and I believe if we can spread it worldwide, it would be the best. But why we are raising our voice for 2020 Olympic, why not in the next olympic? Why we have to wait for 12 years for including a game in olympic. We live in a faster world and we have to accelerate it for the next olympic.

  • David on August 6, 2008, 6:40 GMT

    I can't see how T20 at the Olympics can be bad. Seems like so many cricket 'fans' for some reason don't want cricket to become even bigger, and more worldly known (i.e. apart from just Commonwealth nations).

  • Fahad on August 6, 2008, 6:12 GMT

    Why not? I believe cricket is more exciting than few other games which are already there in olympics. I think players and the ICC now needs to make stronger moves.

    The twenty20 format is not just exciting and fast paced. It also is a kind of format that really pulls in crowd and cricket would not be the lonely, eventually it would be olympics which will gain more in terms of crowd and inovations.

    This will give cricket a new life altogether in terms of popularity.

    I really wish to see more ex and current cricketers from around the globe coming into action in this positive move.

  • Lloyd on August 6, 2008, 4:09 GMT has an online petition to get cricket into the 2012 Olympics. It's wrong that cricketers have been denied opportunities to compete for National Glory and Pride on the world's biggest stage - the Olympics. Reintroducing Cricket at the 2012 London Games would be perfect, as England,ancestral home of cricket, has the infrastructure, cricket stadiums and fans. This could also help market a Pro League in the USA and Canada where people of a cricketing background comprise the highest income group. (Golf was marketed for years only because of the high net worth of its participants until a mass appeal star, Woods, came along ). Soccer encourages growth and its easily the world's biggest sport,with basketball overtaking cricket soon. There will be the usual naysayers but cricket should be in the 2012 Olympics. Why shouldn't cricketers,some of the world's best athletes, get the chance to win Olympic Medals ? is the position of

  • Bob on August 6, 2008, 3:38 GMT

    YellowMonkey-- I must laugh at your comments. Cricket does not devalue the Olympics... no more than rythmic gymnastics or judo, or any one of those other ludicrous, pretender sports that have made it to the Olympics simply because Westerners play it. HIGHERDUCK is also wrong I think. People talk about strengthening cricket where it is already played, but one of the main reasons for people losing interest in the game in traditional countries is the fact that there are not many teams to compete against each other. That's why club cricket is now so popular... far more teams and variety. Globalisation is the way to go to "save" international cricket. I think what every cricket fan should be considering is preventing cricket from becoming like baseball, where in most of the world, everyone simply says "It is only a silly little game played by a dozen countries. We do not need to take it seriously." Please save cricket from that future Steve!

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