MCC World Cricket Committee ask BCCI to back Olympics push

Representative photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Australia Jan 10, 2018, 11.40 AM (IST)

The Melbourne cricket club (MCC) World Cricket committee on Wednesday has asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to back the bid to have cricket included in the Olympics.

The issue was raised after a meeting on Wednesday and the panel of former cricketers Ricky Ponting, Mike Gatting, Kumar Sangakkara and John Stevenson discussed the game's return to the Olympics.

The inclusion of cricket in the Olympics will help to promote the game around the world.

"It would be ideal if all the major countries take part. And how we were looking at the 2024 Olympics, I don't think that's going to be a reality at the moment because the preparations are well underway. But, 2028 seems a very, very likely target and they are negations and discussions underway," suggested Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated that it is open to cricket's future inclusion provided all top teams compete. But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the game's richest and most influential board, has been rather reluctant.

"It's one of those things that has frustrated me," committee chairman Mike Gatting told a news conference.

The Indian board has not been keen on cricket's Olympic inclusion, partly because of apprehensions that BCCI might lose its autonomy and be answerable to the country's Olympic committee.

"We would like to urge the BCCI to have a look at it again and try and support the main body of boards who would like to get into the Olympics as soon as possible," former English cricketer Mike Gatting added.

Cricket was last played at the Olympics in the 1900 Paris Games and the governing International Cricket Council (ICC) has said most of its members backed the inclusion of the 20-overs format in Olympic Games.

"One thing we're very conscious of not lessening the product that we're putting out. If cricket makes it into the Olympics it pretty much has to be the best players and showcase the sport for what it actually is," said former Australian captain Ricky Ponting.