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Gilchrist roots for Twenty20 at Olympics

NEW DELHI, August 4 – Former Australian star Adam Gilchrist has called for the inclusion of cricket’s Twenty20 format at the 2020 Olympics, saying it will help secure the global future of the game.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, who retired from international cricket this year but played in the Indian Premier League (IPL), said the International Cricket Council (ICC) must push for Twenty20 to become an Olympic sport.

"It doesn’t matter where the 2020 Olympic Games are held," he wrote in a column for Indian daily the Deccan Chronicle on Monday.

"But many of us who’ve experienced international Twenty20 cricket and the IPL are convinced that cricket should bid to become an Olympic sport in time for the Games," he wrote.

Gilchrist, 36, said re-introducing cricket as an Olympic sport would help the sport grow internationally and also boost the Olympic movement in the subcontinent.

"We have a responsibility to grow our game in new territories and amongst the women of the world.

"I believe the Olympic Games is the vehicle the sport should use to aggressively sell the message of our sport to all 202 competing Olympic nations.

"So that our sport is strong and robust in countries where it is currently played, and exciting and ground-breaking in countries who haven’t yet caught the ‘cricket-bug’," he said.

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Cricket was part of the Olympics just once, in 1900, but last year it was recognised as an Olympic sport — the first step towards full admission to the Games.

"With Twenty20 cricket here to stay, now is the time for the 10 full-member nations of the ICC to plan for the development of the sport over the next 100 years," Gilchrist said.

Gilchrist said winning an Olympic medal would be the ultimate for any cricketer.

"Take it from someone who has won almost everything cricket has to offer — the Olympics is the absolute pinnacle in sport.

"Cricketers won’t care about the money. The chance to stand on top of the Olympic podium, to wear an Olympic gold medal and the pride of belting out your national anthem would be a life-changing money-can’t-buy experience," he said.

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