March 8 - Haroon Lorgat, chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), has admitted that it will be easier for cricket to appear at the Commonwealth Games rather than the Olympics, but said he is confident it will eventually appear on the programme at both global sporting competitions.
Cricket decided against launching a bid to be on the 2020 Olympic sports programme, but it may well do so in the future as it has been recognised officially by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an Olympic Movement sport since 2007.
However, there is far more likelihood of the sport appearing at the Commonwealth Games in the near future after the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) revealed, at their General Assembly in St Kitts last November, that bringing Twenty20 cricket onto their sports programme is their priority.
The move is largely spearheaded by the new CGF President Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia, who served as an Executive Board Member of the ICC from 1997 to 1999 and again from 2001 to 2008.
"We are keen to get involved in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games because it would provide a very powerful participation opportunity for countries around the world to get involved in cricket," Lorgat told insidethegames here at the Global Sports Forum Barcelona.
"But it is not quite as simple as that so we are currently proposing a proper evaluation where we will analyse the benefits as well as the likely disadvantages.
"Only then can we make a firm decision on this and we hope to do something in the near future.
"We are fortunate that the new President of the CGF is Tunku Imran, who is someone we know well from his time serving on the Board of the ICC.
"He fully understands the development programme within cricket and he understands the complexity of participating in multi-sport events as well as the impact that has on the calendar.
"So he knows all the nuances of our participation and he is prepared to be slightly more flexible than the IOC will be to accommodate cricket at this stage.
"Equally, we would love to have that flexibility because we want to participate.
"So if we can sort that, then I think the Commonwealth Games is a good entry point for us and one that would lead to Olympic participation.
"I also think that a move would be a major opportunity for women's cricket.
"Their game is developing well but they, more than the men, need more major events to raise the profile of the sport and increase participation opportunities, especially in developing countries.
"Participation has hugely expanded with the emergence of Twenty20 cricket but being involved in events like the Olympics and Commonwealth Games would help that enormously."
Lorgat also said that if cricket joins the Commonwealth Games and Olympic programme, the world top cricketers, like India captain MS Dhoni, would be expected to compete.
"If we do get involved, the aim is that everybody has to go and participate with their best teams," he said.
"That is what we would want."
Lorgat also admitted that Twenty20 cricket is the only version of the sport that could realistically feature at either the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics.
"We are fortunate to have three formats of the game that are successful and can co-exist and be viable in the future," he said.
"But I think we all know that Twenty20 cricket would be most suitable for a multi-sport event."
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