Cricket to debut at 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou August 29, 2007

China can help cricket get Olympic status - ACC chief

Cricinfo staff

Cricket could very well make it to the 2016 Olympics if more youngsters take to the game in China © Asian Cricket Council
Syed Ashraful Huq, the chief executive of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) believes 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 as saying by the Associated Press of Pakistan. He said China's say could help cricket's chances of making 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 100 countries played the sport, the participation of a major nation like China could help it qualify as a truly global sport. He felt cricket's debut at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games could be an opportunity to popularise the game 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 its assistance in promoting the game in China.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Speed, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council, indicated cricket's ambitions of making it to the Olympics on a visit to India. "The ICC is in the process of seeking membership of the IOC [International Olympic Committee] which will be completed by this year and the long-term objective is to have cricket in Olympics," he told AFP. With the Twenty20 World Championship to be held September, Speed also suggested that the format would be the ideal one for the Olympics.

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.