Thatscricket - Wish your star
Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2000
Melbourne: The Melbourne Commonwealth Games organisers will seek a commitment of full-strength cricket teams before deciding whether to lobby for the sport's inclusion in 2006. Cricket was played in the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur but some key nations either did not attend or sent second-rate teams and the crowds for the tournament were poor.The sport will not be played at the Games in Manchester next year but cricket's drawing power in Australia is a major factor in considering a push for its inclusion in Melbourne. Melbourne organisers want cricket but they also want an assurance from international cricket authorities that they'll get the best players and there won't be a repeat of the situation in Malaysia. Steve Waugh led a powerful Australian side to those 1998 Games but England did not send a team at all while South Africa sent a weakened squad, though it still won the gold medal.A problem then was that the Games clashed with existing international fixtures.Melbourne organising committee chief executive Leighton Wood said cricket was a real Commonwealth sport - played predominantly in Commonwealth countries - and he was keen to see it return."But we'll have to talk to the International Cricket Council (ICC), the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) and the Victorian Cricket Association (VCA) as, at the end of the day, they would be the organisations which would have to run it," Wood said on Wednesday.The Commonwealth Games Federation will meet in Manchester on July 27-28 to determine the composition of the Melbourne Games. The Australian Commonwealth Games Association has supported applications for triathlon, mountain bike racing and synchronised diving to be included in 2006.