Aug 05, 2008 at 02:36pm IST

Waugh backs cricket to become an Olympic sport

Hong Kong: Former Australia Test captain Steve Waugh has thrown his weight behind Twenty20 cricket becoming an Olympic sport, saying it would help globalise the game.

"The idea of Twenty20 cricket at the Olympics is definitely worth pursuing," he told the South China Morning Post.

"If you want to globalise the game then you have to look at including countries like China and the United States, and getting cricket into the Olympics will fast-track that move."

BATTING FOR THE GAME: Waugh feels Twenty20 cricket is on the verge of becoming a huge global success.

In December last year, cricket was give the status of "recognised sport" by the International Olympic Committee for two years.

The honour is usually granted to sports that are not part of the Olympic programme but conform to its ideals of youth promotion and anti-doping policies.

Cricket was last seen at a major multi-sport event at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, but was dropped for the next two editions in England and Australia.

Waugh played in Kuala Lumpur, when Australia won gold.

"I had the time of my life at those Games. Winning the gold medal was one of the highlights of my career," said the 43-year-old, who played 168 Tests for Australia, including 57 as captain.

He added that he felt Twenty20 cricket was on the verge of becoming a huge global success.

"Twenty20 is going through a honeymoon phase at the moment," he said. "But in the next few years, I believe it will become a worldwide phenomenon."

His comments follow those of his former Australia teammate Adam Gilchrist, who in a column for Monday's edition of Deccan Chronicle wrote: "Take it from someone who has won almost everything cricket has to offer - the Olympics is the absolute pinnacle in sport. 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."

Waugh, one of three mentors for the Australian Olympic team along with former Wallabies captain John Eales and gold medal-winning rower Kate Allen, was in Hong Kong to see the Australian equestrian team.

"I have 11 sports assigned to me and equestrianism is one of them," he told the newspaper.

"I met the team. I was asking most of the questions. It was not about me telling them how to ride a horse but really talking about how to handle pressure situations."

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