Inside Lines: Cricket's Twenty20 hopes for 2020 no-balled by betting scam

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Any hopes cricket had of gaining a place in the Olympic Games have been scuppered by the betting scandal that has ripped the sport apart. Plans for the Twenty20 version to be included in the 2020 Games seem certain to be shelved by the International Olympic Committee, whose president, Jacques Rogge, believes that next to doping, gambling is the biggest threat facing the movement. Twenty20 cricket is set to make its debut at the Asian Games in China in November, which was seen as a launching pad for elevation to full Olympic status. But the allegations surrounding the three suspended Pakistani players could mean that any Olympic deal is dead in the water, a view endorsed by Britain's Sir Craig Reedie, a member of the IOC executive. He told "This has not been helpful in any way... the Olympic movement will be wary of getting involved with a sport that has these kind of problems." So concerned are the IOC about possible betting scams that they have set up a special unit to watch for corrupt betting through a Swiss company, International Sports Monitoring, which will be used for London 2012.

Burnham takes plunge

The race to become the next Labour leader has a distinct sporting flavour for two of the candidates. Ex-Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe is the campaign organiser for Andy Burnham; his predecessor Richard Caborn champions Ed Miliband. But when it comes to the sporting nitty-gritty it is really no contest. Miliband, Caborn admits, has no great interest in sport wherereas ex-Health Secretary Burnham, who was to have been among the 9,000 taking the plunge in the cancelled one-mile Great North Swim across Lake Windermere, plays football and cricket, has chaired Leigh Rugby League Club and is an avid Everton fan. Jamie Carragher of Liverpool doesn't hold that against him, giving £10,000 to Burnham's campaign fund. Kop that!

Good table manners

They've been pinging and ponging all across London this summer. The table tennis project Ping! London set up by Sport England offering impromptu knock-ups to the passing public has been so successful, attracting 30,000 players, that more than half the 50 temporary tables will remain in place, with the rest being donated to parks and community organisations. What mayor Boris Johnson famously called flim-flam has proved almost as popular as his hire-a-bike scheme, which at least offers commuters the pedal power to beat the 24-hour tube strike tomorrow.

No Khan do

Amir Khan has been in Pakistan campaigning for the flood relief charity and helping his younger brother Haroon prepare in a Commonwealth Games training camp. Haroon has elected to box for Pakistan after being overlooked by Britain – as Amir himself threatened to do before the 2004 Athens Olympics. Khan has fought only once since his split with the promoter Frank Warren in January and with no major UK venue available in December, he is next likely to box again in the US. But he admits difficulties in finding a suitable opponent. Warren says that his six-figure offer for Khan to meet the winner of this month's fight between Kell Brook and Michael Jennings received no response. No surprise there then.