Cricket has to work harder to get global recognition: Abhinav Bindra to India Today

first_imgWith uncompetitive matches and dwindling spectators, Test cricket is at crossroads. Even attempts to provide context are designed for limited Test playing nations and with the next 50 overs World Cup also restricted for only ten countries, cricket’s globalization plans remains only on paper.The International Cricket Council (ICC) is due to put a formal request soon for cricket’s inclusion in Olympics but with little inclination shown by the most influential Board of Control for cricket in India (BCCI), cricket could again miss the bus.Talking about the game’s future plans, India’s sole individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra sounded unimpressed with cricket’s misplaced priorities. “As an Olympic athlete it is sad. Cricket has great potential as a sport but it has to work harder to get global recognition,” he tells India Today in an interview.Reuters PhotoBCCI may be uneasy of its autonomy being stolen away by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) but they are not to be blamed alone for cricket’s resistance from Olympics. The other prominent member nations are also not in a hurry to break away from the scheduled tours program that may affect revenue generation.But left with increasing number of one sided bilateral contests, cricket has never been in a greater need of expanding its presence to newer markets. This is precisely the point Bindra makes.”The ICC has a lot of membership from a lot of countries. But I think there is a need to make it highly competitive in a lot of the countries. That can propel them to Olympic status. Presently there are seven or eight countries which are competitive and then there is a huge gap. If you look at world sport, if you look at Olympic sport, there is a lot more universality in it and competitiveness that makes sport at Olympics global. Cricket as a sport needs to work towards that,” he adds.advertisementReuters PhotoThe ICC website has 105 registered nations playing the sport but apart from the 12 Test playing nations, the rest are merely associate and affiliate nations who are far from the mainstream. “It would be great to have cricket in Olympics. I don’t know if it’s important to the game but as a fan who likes Olympics it would be nice to see it there,” he says.While the financial prudence question has to be addressed by the administrators, it’s the athletes who have to yearn for an amateur pursuit. When asked if it surprises him why leading cricketers haven’t expressed desire to play cricket at Olympics, Bindra replies, “Look, it’s different. Cricket was once part of Commonwealth games in Kuala Lumpur (1998). It’s an amateur pursuit, towards excellence, personal accomplishment. You may not earn much money out of it but the pursuit is very fulfilling.”last_img read more