Adam Gilchrist: Cricket's future lies in bringing it into the Olympic fold

Click to follow
The Independent Online

If you were a director of a large trans-global corporation, you would be constantly looking to expand your markets and secure your cash flows for the future. To survive long term in any business, you must not only maintain your clients, but keep growing your client base as well. Amongst the trinity of cricket's international formats, T20 alone has perhaps the greatest chance to achieve this for cricket.

I happen to believe that, as a starting point, the single best way to spread the game globally is for the ICC to actively seek its inclusion as an Olympic sport. For sure, this would be a massive challenge for cricket to take on and undoubtedly there would be a whole host of issues along the way to contend with, but what a great and worthwhile challenge it would be.

Without doubt, the Olympic movement provides one of the most efficient and cost-effective distribution networks for individual sports to spread their wings globally. It would be difficult to see a better, quicker or cheaper way of spreading the game throughout the world.

For most sports seeking to get a berth at the Olympics, the greatest challenge is usually to try and convince the International Olympic Committee. In our case however, cricket as a sport mounts a very impressive and almost irresistible case for several reasons.

The Olympic movement's only remaining dead pocket in the world happens to coincide with cricket's strongest – the sub-continent. This region, which includes India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, represents just over one-fifth of the world's population. But, with the exception of their great hockey teams of the past, these cricket powerhouses have received barely a handful of Olympic medals in over 100 years of competition. More importantly, general interest in the Games and the Olympic movement in the sub-continent remains comparatively low by world standards and addressing this has been an issue at the IOC for some time.

What better way for the IOC to spread the Olympic brand and ideals into this region, than on the back of T20 cricket?

Taken from the Australian former Test player's 'Spirit of Cricket' talk at the MCC last night