'T20 to be Olympic event'
Australian captain Ricky Ponting says it is only a matter of time before Twenty20 cricket is part of the Olympic Games.cricket Updated: Aug 27, 2008 23:05 IST
Australian captain Ricky Ponting said on Wednesday it is only a matter of time before Twenty20 cricket is part of the Olympic Games.
Just days after the completion of the Beijing Games, Ponting said it was "inevitable" the game's newest form would become an Olympic event given its popularity in the sub-continent.
Ponting, who also called for a portion of the international cricket calendar to be kept free for Twenty20 tournaments, was speaking in Sydney on Wednesday night at a dinner to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Donald Bradman.
"I actually think it's inevitable Twenty20 cricket will be an Olympic sport," Ponting said.
"You think about the audiences in the sub-continent, 22 or 23 per cent of the world's population is based in that area.
"The IOC could do a lot worse than put cricket into the Olympics."
But although he called for Twenty20 cricket to be part of the world's biggest sporting event, he also warned that it had to be handled carefully by international cricket bosses.
Ponting said he had mounting concerns about players chasing quick dollars in the game rather than playing for their country.
He suggested the need for a window in the international calendar each year for Twenty20 tournaments such as the Indian Premier League.
"The critical issue with the game of Twenty20 cricket is how do we make it work," Ponting said.
"We definitely need a carve-out period.
"The reason I say that is not because I want to go off and play, it's not about that.
"I want to play for Australia as much as I can; I want to play as many Tests for Australia as I can.
"I want the next generation of Australian players to have that dream to put on the baggy green cap and play 100 Test matches and 300 one-day games.
"I'm worried if there's not that period of time be it in the IPL or the EPL, or whatever competition it might be, that this next generation's opinions might change.
"They might see the dollars and think, 'maybe it's more appealing to me that I go and play IPL instead of playing for my country'.
"That would be the saddest thing ever to happen to this great game."