RIO: The Olympic Games would be a “fantastic forum” for cricket should the sport’s administrators want to broaden its global reach, a top rugby official said Saturday.
Rugby sevens won the right for Olympic inclusion in Rio back in 2009, and Brett Gosper, chief executive of World Rugby, said cricket could learn lessons from them.
IOC president Thomas Bach was accompanied in the stands of the Deodoro Stadium on Saturday by none other than Indian cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar.
“Sachin was here for the whole session and loved it,” Gosper said.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to confirm whether it will push for the inclusion of its Twenty20 format of the game at the 2024 Olympic Games, but Tendulkar’s appearance at the rugby was striking.
“For them in cricket terms it’s interesting to see rugby’s journey into the Olympic and why that’s an interesting proposition for cricket,” said Gosper.
“If cricket has similar ambitions to rugby which is to take its footprint out of its traditional comfort zone then there’s nothing better than the Olympics to allow you to do that.
“Not just at the time of the Olympics, but in the whole qualification, development, the fact you’re on school curricula, the fact you get more money into those countries that normally probably wouldn’t be distributing much money to.
“I definitely think in terms of an expansive mentality, if that’s where cricket’s at, the Olympics would be a fantastic forum for them.”
Gosper added that “cricket would be very good for the Olympics too”.
“Obviously it would bring out a very strong Indian audience, which is considerable, and they’d have to see if their Twenty20 format would suit the Olympics,” he said.
“As an ambition, we can only endorse it.”