London, Nov 22 (UNI) Cricket may finally reach out to a wider audience other than the traditional Test playing nations with the London Assembly calling for Twenty20 to be included in the 2012 Olympics.
The assembly agreed a motion proposed by member Murad Qureshi urging the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to work with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) so that T20 cricket is included in the quadriennial mega event.
Wednesday's motion was carried by the consent of assembly members, with no votes against.
''Cricket is our traditional summer game and I can't think of a better way of spending an afternoon - whether it's playing or watching,'' Qureshi said.
''Twenty20 cricket is a shorter, more accessible version of the game that is played throughout London. We already have the best venues and a very good cricket administration, so there is no need to build new facilities. We are looking forward to next year's Twenty20 World Cup, which will be hosted in the capital and hope that the game will become a fixture for the 2012 Games,'' he added.
''If the Chinese can show (martial art sport) Wushu to the world, I can see no reason why London shouldn't have cricket in 2012. It is this country's summer game after all.'' Qureshi has started an online petition to gauge support for the proposal, although it is too late to have the sport added to the official Olympic list in 2012.
The London Assembly motion comes after the MCC World Cricket Committee addressed the issue at their latest meeting in New Delhi, led by former Australia cricket captain and committee member Steve Waugh.
Qureshi's comments were backed by fellow assembly member Navin Shah, who had seconded the motion.
''The Twenty20 game has transformed the perception of cricket and is now played in well over 100 countries - not just the traditional cricket playing countries,'' Shah opined.
''It is extremely popular, especially amongst the youth. It is only fitting that one of the fastest growing games in the world is included in the Olympic Games.'' However, IOC president Jacques Rogge has said cricket will not be considered as a new Olympic sport until the 2020 Games at the earliest.
The usual route is for a sport to begin as a 'showcase' event before being elevated to full Olmypic status.
UNI XC AB CS PM1350