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I once wrote to the International Olympic Committee and asked them why cricket was not part of the Olympics. The Olympics is arguably the most watched sports feature in the world, ranked there with the FIFA World Cup. My thoughts were, if they could have a sport, say, such as beach volleyball, a little known and played sport, why was cricket, a sport watched by billons and has followings on every continent, not part of the competition?

 Their answer was simply that they did not have a request from the ICC – International Cricket Council, to have the sport as part of the games.

I followed up with an e-mail to the IOC. My logic was that cricket, being such a popular sport, should be part of the competition. I understood that test cricket was out of the question. It takes simply to long. I understood that one day cricket again could be to long.

 My thoughts then turned to 20-20 cricket. Here was a shortened version of the game that all cricket playing countries could participate in, and be the perfect showboat to promote the sport. The IOC reply was that cricket for the Olympics was not part of their agenda right now. Cricket has it’s own World Cup and it’s test series. There would be no time for the Olympics.

The IOC has its points. Cricketers all over have complained that the workload is too much, imagine trying to compete in another event such as the Olympics? However, I think this can be overcome. In the same way that football at the Olympics is played, with a youth team of non-professionals sent to compete, the same can be done for cricket. Imagine a 20-20 format full of the best upcoming youngsters from around the world, this could be a real hit. Look for example at the recent Sanford 20-20 series in the West Indies, it uncovered some really good talent, and it was so popular with the crowds. The basis for selection again could be simple. The players on each team would have to have played a minimum number of first class matches, and must be under a certain age. This would ensure that only the most promising are selected. I wonder how many footballers from Brazil who played in the Olympics went on to represent their country or play for international teams? Look at Ronaldo!

I look forward to comments on this idea. There are those in the cricket fraternity who do not take 20-20 cricket seriously, but it is here and it pulls the crowds. That’s enough to encourage it.
(This article was first published in HoldingWilley way back in early January. We figured it might be a good idea to republish it now since it holds a lot of relevance even now, and  possibly deserves a larger audience than the one we had when HoldingWilley was still taking it's baby steps in January.)


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