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Ashraful, Mortaza want cricket in Olympics

Published: Monday, August 11, 2008, 19:35 [IST]
 
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Sydney: Bangla captain Mohammad Ashraful and his deputy Mashrafe Bin Mortaza have joined the chorus of players calling for Twenty20 cricket to be added as Olympics sport.

Earlier, this week, former Australia star Adam Gilchrist suggested Twenty20 is ideal for the short Olympic schedule.

He called on the cricketing authorities to do everything in their powers to get the sport included in future Games to help it grow globally.

The idea is already attracting support, and Ashraful and Bin Mortaza have jumped on the bandwagon.

"I personally think this is a great idea," Ashraful said. "At the moment I as a cricketer feel left out with the whole world's focus is on the Beijing Olympics."

"Inclusion of cricket in the Olympics would give cricket a whole new identity as the Games is massive. I guess the all ICC full members can get direct entry to the main event and the other teams can come in through qualifiers."

"Also, the best cricketers in the world should be eligible to play and there should not be any age-limit." Bin Mortaza added the shortened Twenty20 version of the game would be the best model to open the game up to new fans.

"It will be a decision welcomed by professional cricketers if it happens," he said.

"Besides, who doesn't want to be part of an event so huge? The Twenty20 version is ideally suited to the Olympics as it has mass pulling power and entertainment value."

"It doesn't take a lot of time and will be easier for the world audience to understand. I am not in favour of allowing every country to participate. The full members and three or four qualifiers would ensure quality."

Agencies 

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