London - Australia great Ricky Ponting has given his public support to calls
by the MCC world cricket committee for Twenty20 cricket to be included as an
Some officials in major cricket nations such as England have long been resistant
to the idea of the sport joining the Olympics, fearing the impact it could have
on its own home season.
But others within cricket see the Games as an ideal way to spread the game
globally, as emerging nations can receive government funding for Olympic-linked
Ponting, who serves on the MCC world cricket committee alongside fellow
former Test captains Mike Brearley (England), Shaun Pollock (South Africa) and
Sourav Ganguly (India), told reporters at Lord's on Tuesday: "It was quite
unanimous throughout the members of this committee that we should look to grow
the game into an Olympic sport.
"The opportunity to open up different markets, considering the Olympics
is the pinnacle of global sport, to be able to get cricket into something like
that would be an awesome spectacle in itself," he added at a news
conference following a two-day meeting.
"It would be great for the growth and development of cricket, obviously
talking about T20 cricket here."
Ponting continued: "There were a number of things that were tossed
around, whether, like with football, make it an Under-23 tournament. The whole
discussion round cricket being in the Olympics was very positive.
"That's one way of breaking into some of these markets and attracting
new audiences into the game, which I think the game needs right now."
Rugby Union, where many of the major nations are the same as those in
cricket, will see its shortest format, Sevens, make its Olympic debut at next
year's Rio Games.
Meanwhile the committee said a plan by the ICC, now effectively controlled
by the sport's three wealthiest nations of India, England and Australia, to cut
the 2019 World Cup in England to a 10-team event was a "retrograde
This year's edition in Australia and New Zealand featured 14 teams and there
are fears for the future of cricket in emerging countries if they no longer
have the incentive of a realistic shot at World Cup qualification.
The MCC world cricket committee put forward a proposal for a 12-team event
with a preliminary qualifying round.
In a statement, it said a 10-team World Cup was a "retrograde step that
damages the potential for growth in cricket's developing nations".