Former Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi has put his weight behind T10 cricket, saying the new format could be cricket's gateway into the Olympics. Afridi, playing in his second season of the T10 League with the Pakhtoons, said he has been greatly encouraged by the league's growth and sees ten-over cricket as the perfect format for introducing a wider audience to the game.
"I think this is the best cricket you can introduce in the Olympic Games," Afridi told ESPNcricinfo. "I think you can take the game there and show the world what cricket is all about. I think this is the perfect format to introduce cricket and we are all enjoying it, which is the main thing."
England's Eoin Morgan had endorsed a similar view during the inaugural season of the T10 League last year, stating that T10 cricket was easiest on the eye.
"I think T10 could be something you could potentially propose to an Olympic committee," Morgan had told ESPNcricinfo. "When you look at the T20 game, it goes on for a little bit longer, so if you are talking about playing a role in the Olympics then you'd probably have ten teams or more and that would probably last five or six weeks. But a ten-over league could be done in about eight days which could be right."
Following shortly after ICC's bid for a women's cricket event at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Afridi's comments could particularly add to ICC's ambition for cricket to feature in the Olympics.
The one and only time cricket took place in the Olympics was back in 1900, when Great Britain beat France to claim gold. More than 118 years on, Afridi is of the opinion that T10 might just be the key to unlocking cricket's participation in sport's pinnacle global event.
In the meantime, Afridi said, cricket itself will benefit from T10's existence.
"It's quick fire, a big test of bowlers. Batsmen can show their skills and I saw myself some great innings, some great skills, some great shots," said Afridi of T10's greatest selling points. "I think cricket will change with [T10]. Even T20 and one-day cricket will change with this cricket. I think you can take it [around the world] definitely because of the time," Afridi said.