July 1 - Prince Tunku Imran, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), has claimed he is hopeful about getting cricket on the sports programme for the 2018 Commonwealth Games after a positive meeting with the International Cricket Council (ICC) Executive Board in Kuala Lumpur.
The 64-year-old Malaysian is well known by the ICC, having served on its Executive Board in two spells from 1997 to 1999 and 2001 to 2008 and admitted he was happy after delivering a formal CGF presentation to them.
"I gave the ICC Board a brief introduction to the Commonwealth Games," Prince Imran said.
"I told them that the feeling from our Annual General Meeting in St Kitts in November was that we were keen to have cricket back in the Games and, with Australia hosting in 2018, that might present an ideal opportunity.
"I hope this will be a win-win situation.
"Including cricket within the Commonwealth Games would present an opportunity to showcase the sport not just to a new audience, but to other sports administrators.
"Just as rugby sevens got into the Olympics after making a good impression in the Commonwealth Games; so could cricket.
"But the greatest benefit of inclusion is not commercial; it is about the globalisation of the game.
"I believe inclusion within the Commonwealth Games would be particularly beneficial for the development of the women's game.
"It would provide a high-profile tournament for them to take part in."
The ICC are now set to investigate the costs and benefits of including cricket in the Commonwealth Games, with the CGF likely to issue a formal response at the next ICC Executive Board meeting in November.
There are still difficulties involved given there is a congested calendar in cricket, and both the CGF and the ICC would want the best players involved.
That was the case at the Kuala Lumpur 1998 Commonwealth Games, the last and only time cricket appeared in the event, when Australia fielded a star-studded team, featuring the likes of Steve Waugh (pictured above, right), which was beaten in the final by a South Africa side that included Shaun Pollock (pictured above, left), Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher.
"We understand that the cricket schedule is very busy and selection, of course, is the prerogative of the Board," said Prince Imran.
"We would understand if the players selected were the best available but I am sure that the players would like to participate.
"Shaun Pollock and Steve Waugh both appeared in the Games in 1998 while Sir Viv Richards was there as team manager of the Antigua side.
"I know they all enjoyed and valued the experience."
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