The prestigious MCC World Cricket Committee today strongly urged the BCCI to support cricket's inclusion in the Olympics.
The World Cricket committee, comprising legends such as Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara along with current Bangladesh superstar Shakib Al Hasan believe that the richest cricket board should not act as a barrier in getting the sport inducted in the quadrennial extravaganza. "The game's application to become an Olympic sport is gathering momentum and that the only remaining barrier is India's reluctance to proceed," an MCC release stated.
"The committee has long been a supporter of Twenty20 cricket being included in the Olympic Games, believing it the single biggest step the game could take to unlock worldwide government funding and aid its global development," it further stated. The MCC wants cricket to be included in the Paris edition of 2024 and if not then at least in the 2028 Los Angeles edition. "For men's and women's cricket to thrive in future generations, new countries must be introduced to the sport; playing cricket in the Olympics is the best way to achieve this objective.
"With plans for the 2024 Paris Games well advanced, the committee urges India to unite with the rest of the world game and lobby the International Olympic Committee for the inclusion of Twenty20 cricket in the Olympic Games, ideally in Paris but if not at Los Angeles in 2028," the committee said. The committee, during its meeting, also discussed how a proper wage structure, together with the provision of more longer-term national central contracts, would entice more players to commit to international cricket, rather than opting out to play in domestic T20 leagues. "There is concern that players in the poorer or developing nations are not being paid sufficiently, and there needs to be transparency and accountability of where ICC funds are being spent by some member boards," it said.
Shakib Al Hasan, the first player from Bangladesh to sit on the group, and who was attending his first meeting, addressed the World Cricket committee by giving his view on a range of issues affecting the modern player. Shakib's experiences contrasted with those of Jonny Bairstow, who spoke to the committee at the July 2017 meeting, and highlighted that the choices facing a modern professional vary greatly from country to country.
Shakib described how his greatest honour is representing his country, but the financial incentives do not match those available in global domestic T20 tournaments. He was concerned that many younger players, who don't share his view of wishing to play Test cricket for a long period, will prefer the shorter format of the game that is more readily available and offers more financial security than playing longer-form cricket. It is a hard choice for players in some countries to make, and the committee feels it has created an imbalance in the international game.