The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the former governors of the sport, is launching a campaign to get cricket restored to the Olympic programme because they believe it would help it develop around the world.

Cricket has only ever appeared once at the Olympics, in Paris in 1900, when teams representing Great Britain and France played each other, and was won by 158 runs by Britain.

But neither team was nationally selected with the British side being a touring club, the Devon and Somerset Wanderers, while the French team, the French Athletic Club Union, comprising mainly British expatriates living in Paris.

But now the MCC's World Cricket Committee, which includes former England captain Michael Vaughan and ex-Australia skipper Steve Waugh, has urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to make getting the Twenty20 form of the sport into the Olympics a priority.

"The Committee subsequently discussed the possibilities of cricket becoming an Olympic sport and believes this may be an important route for developing the game around the world and particularly in China," an MCC statement read.

The sport made its debut at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, in 2010 when Bangladesh won the men's event and Pakistan the women's.

But, perhaps most significantly for the future development of the sport, Japan beat China in the bronze medal playoff in the women's tournament.

Rodney Miles, the former chairman of the Hong Kong Cricket Club (HKCC) who addressed the MCC on the topic at their meeting at Lord's believes the sport has a future in China if it can get into the Olympics.

"In China cricket is seen by many as a minority sport, which is what you have to overcome, hence the Olympics," he told the BBC.

"That's the issue, to get more people to watch and understand the game."

"Why are they not in the World Cup or the Olympics?

"They should be there.

"That's what life's about for sportspeople."

But the earliest cricket can be included on the programme for the Olympics is 2024 as the process for 2020 is already well underway.

Seven sports are bidding.

Baseball and softball have put in joint bid while climbing, karate, roller sports, squash, wakeboard and wushu are also hoping for inclusion.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is due to make a decision on which sport to include at its Session in Buenos Aires on September 7, 2013.

By Duncan Mackay in London

Source: www.insidethegames.biz


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