Sydney, Australia:Twenty20 cricket will inevitably join the Olympic Games but could be dangerous to the international game unless it is accommodated in a congested calendar, says Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
In a speech marking the centenary of the birth of cricketing great Sir Don Bradman, Ponting said he feared players would turn their backs on their countries if lucrative tournaments such as the Indian Premier League could not be indulged in cricket's existing calendar.
"The critical issue with the game of Twenty20 cricket is how do we make it work?" Ponting said on Wednesday.
"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."
Ponting said the growth of Twenty20 had already had a huge impact on the global game and had opened up new markets for the sport.
"I actually think its inevitable Twenty20 cricket will be an Olympic sport," he said.
"You think about the audiences in the subcontinent, 22 or 23 per cent of the world's population is based in that area.
"The IOC could do a lot worse than put cricket into the Olympics."