Australia’s captain Ricky Ponting believes it is only a matter of time before Twenty20 is part of the Olympics. Just days after the completion of the Beijing Games, Ponting said it was “inevitable” the new form would become an Olympic event, given its popularity in the subcontinent.

Ponting, who also called for a portion of the international calendar to be kept free for Twenty20 tournaments, was speaking at a dinner in Sydney to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Don Bradman.

“I actually think it’s inevitable Twenty20 cricket will be an Olympic sport,” Ponting said. “You think about the audiences in the subcontinent, 22 or 23% of the world’s population is based in that area. The IOC could do a lot worse than put cricket in the Olympics.”

Although he wanted Twenty20 to be part of the world’s biggest sporting event, Ponting warned that the format had to be handled carefully by international cricket bosses. He has concerns about players chasing quick dollars rather than playing for their country.

“The critical issue with the game of Twenty20 cricket is how do we make it work,” Ponting said. “We definitely need a carve-out period. The reason I say that is not because I want to go off and play, it’s not about that.

“I want to play for Australia as much as I can, I want to play as many Tests for Australia as I can. I want the next generation of Australian players to have that dream to put on the baggy green cap and play 100 Test matches and 300 one-day games.

“I’m worried if there’s not that period of time, be it in the IPL or the EPL, or whatever competition it might be, that this next generation’s opinions might change. They might see the dollars and think, ‘maybe it’s more appealing to me that I go and play IPL instead of playing for my country’. That would be the saddest thing ever to happen to this great game.”

By Arunava Das

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