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Prince Imran makes Games plea

George Dobell

June 27, 2012

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, at the annual conference, Kuala Lumpur, June 26, 2012
ICC have been meeting this week in Kuala Lumpur © Getty Images
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Cricket could return to the Commonwealth Games as early as 2018 if the International Cricket Council (ICC) accepts an invitation from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

HRH Prince Imran of Malaysia, the Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation, made a presentation to the ICC board on Wednesday, inviting cricket into the 2018 Commonwealth Games, to be held on the Gold Coast in Australia, and the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, which will be held in St Lucia.

Cricket has been included in the Commonwealth Games just once - in Malaysia in 1998 - when South Africa won gold by defeating Australia (silver) in the final. New Zealand won bronze. The Games have a worldwide TV audience of over 400 million.

"I gave the ICC board a brief introduction to the Commonwealth Games," Prince Imran told ESPNcricinfo. "I told them that the feeling from our AGM in St Kitts in November was that we were keen to have cricket back in the Games and, with Australia hosting in 2018, that might present an ideal opportunity.

"I hope this will be a win-win situation. Including cricket within the Commonwealth Games would present an opportunity to showcase the sport not just to a new audience, but to other sports administrators. Just as Rugby 7s got into the Olympics after making a good impression in the Commonwealth Games, so could cricket.

"But the greatest benefit of inclusion is not commercial; it is about the globalisation of the game. I believe inclusion within the Commonwealth Games would be particularly beneficial for the development of the women's game. It would provide a high-profile tournament for them to take part in."

While there is little opposition to cricket's inclusion in the Commonwealth Games on principle, the practical obstacles remain substantial. Even if the Future Tours Programme left room for another event and even if the issues with long-term broadcast contracts could be resolved, the fact is that the 2018 Commonwealth Games are scheduled for the prime weeks of the IPL; between April 4 and 15.

Such is the CGF's desire to see cricket included within the Games, however, they stressed to the ICC that they would be happy to see the "best available" players selected.

"We understand that the cricket schedule is very busy," Prince Imran continued "and selection, of course, is the prerogative of the board. We would understand if the players selected were the best available.

"I am sure that the players would like to participate. Shaun Pollock and Steve Waugh both appeared in the Games in 1998, while Sir Viv Richards was there as team manager of the Antigua side: I know they all enjoyed and valued the experience."

The ICC will now investigate the costs and benefits of inclusion in multi-sports games, with Prince Imran not anticipating a formal response until the next ICC board meeting in October.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 28, 2012, 14:13 GMT)

@jackiethepen & smfaisalhussain, it depends what you call amateurs, would that include someone who plays for a University Team? I would use the same rules as football with the age limit being all but three members under 23's, the question is what about the players that are in the MCC-University teams, are they professionals or Amateurs?

Posted by Stark62 on (June 28, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

I wouldn't be surprised, if icc picks Tests as the format to be played!!

T20 is the only format viable and exciting enough to be a part of the common wealth games or even the Olympics.

Posted by Abdurrazaaq on (June 28, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

T20 is the way to go to globalize cricket in a Olympics or commonwealth games

Posted by paulantony on (June 28, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

Invitation can be accepted only if BCCI approves & not ICC.... Harsh reality of todays times...

Posted by jackiethepen on (June 28, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

Why not make it for amateur cricketers? It used to be the rule for Olympics etc. But most of the teams, if not all the teams, below the Test playing nations are amateur - the players all have jobs or part time jobs. Many of our own County players are likely to have part time work in the winter or work on the side. We could exclude all the centrally contracted players and cricketers with full time contracts. I think the women cricketers are mainly part time. It is such a good idea. We should make sure that the Test playing nations do not act selfishly. They should not just be thinking of their own supremacy in competitions like the do in the World Cup and t20. India in particular seems to have no regard for the Associate nations.

Posted by smfaisalhussain on (June 28, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

How about cricket in CWG/Asian Games/Olympics be similar to how Soccer is in such events ........ how about the these events be U-19 T20 events, and each country can include up to 3 senior players in the squad. That way, the future tours programs wont be affected, cricket will get its fair share of limelight in the global events, and these U-19 players will get to spend quality playing time with 3 seniors, adding to valuable experience! Its a win-win situation! Learn from Soccer, they do the same, Olympic soccer is u-21 event, with each country sending up to 3 senior players.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 28, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

the piggest issue with including Cricket in the commonwealth games or Olympics is the need for pitch preperation, and most countries dont have the knowledge in order prepare good competition wickets.

Posted by anuradha_d on (June 28, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

Has Prince Imran taken approval from BCCI ?

It's pointless inviting ICC....for whjat if BCCI is not in agreement even if ICC accepts it?

and if it is percieved as diluting the brand value of IPL or even offering competition to it as a popularity sport........BCCI will not approve

Posted by Udendra on (June 28, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

What about T20 cricket for 2020 Olympics? will anyone push for it?

Posted by TonyRai on (June 28, 2012, 2:40 GMT)

Awesome! I'd love to see cricket played in Commonwealth games, asian games, saf games, and olympics!

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