ICC chief eyes Olympics to spread game globally
Alan Isaac, the world's leading cricket official, said the game's inclusion at the Olympics would boost the development of the sport in China but said no decision had yet been made by the International Cricket Council on whether to push for the inclusion of Twenty20 as a medal sport at the 2024 Summer Games.
ICC president Isaac, who is attending the Hong Kong Sixes, revealed yesterday that the International Olympic Committee was keen to get Twenty20 into the Games but stressed a lot of factors would have to be considered before a decision was reached.
"Yes, in places like China, Olympic inclusion will mean government help and it will help the development of the game," Isaac said. "But it's early days yet. We are undertaking a study of all the issues and will meet next year to discuss this."
The Marylebone Cricket Club in a recent report published by its world cricket committee said "a place at the greatest sporting party on the planet would help develop the game globally and particularly in China".
New Zealander Isaac, who took over the reins of the ICC presidency in June, said the IOC had also indicated it would be amenable to a move for the inclusion of the sport.
"I had some meetings around the [London] Olympics and it is fair to say that they [IOC] would like to have cricket in the Olympics. If at all, the 2024 Games would be the timeline we are looking at," Isaac said.
The ICC chief arrived in Hong Kong having made a brief stopover in Beijing, where he met with mainland cricket officials.
"There was an opportunity for me to come and watch the Sixes and while I was in this part of the world I thought it would be good to see for myself what is happening in China," Isaac said. "I want to try and understand a little bit more about cricket in China. I will be also going on a fact-finding mission to Guangzhou on Monday [to watch the ACC Women's Twenty20 Asia Cup].
"The Asian Cricket Council is responsible for the development of the game in China but this was an opportunity to learn for myself, too," Isaac added.
Cricket, the T20 version, made its debut as a medal sport at the Asian Games. The Commonwealth Games also used to include cricket (50 overs) but has discontinued it.