London:Cricket and Olympic need each other to spread wings and Twenty20 is the tailormade format "to achieve the common goal" said former Australia cricketer Adam Gilchrist.
In his 2009 Cowdrey Lecture lecture at MCC, the stumper-batsman made a passionate appeal for Twenty20 cricket's Olympic inclusion, saying it would serve the purpose of both the International Olympic Council (IOC) and the International Cricket Council (ICC).
"...the Olympic movement's only remaining dead pocket in the world happens to coincide with cricket's strongest - the sub-continent," Gilchrist pointed out.
"This region, which includes India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, represents just over one fifth of the world's population. But with the exception of their great hockey teams of the past, these cricket powerhouses have received barely a handful of Olympic medals in nearly 100 years of competition.
"More importantly, general interest in the games and the Olympic movement in the subcontinent remains comparatively low by world standards and addressing this has been an issue at the IOC for some time.
"What better way for the IOC to spread the Olympic Brand and Ideals into this region, than on the back of Twenty20 cricket?" he asked.
For ICC also, Gilly said, it would be a win-win situation.
"Amongst the trinity of cricket's international formats, Twenty20 alone has perhaps the greatest chance to achieve this for cricket...the single best way to spread the game globally is for the ICC to actively seek its inclusion as an Olympic sport.
"Without doubt, the Olympic movement provides one of the most efficient and cost effective distribution networks for individual sports to spread their wings globally. It would be difficult to see a better, quicker or cheaper way of spreading the game throughout the world," Gilchrist added. Gilchrist cited the instance of field hockey in China to buttress his case.
"Field Hockey was virtually non-existent in that country until the early eighties, when the Chinese government decided that it wanted to start playing all Olympic sports in preparation for their entry into the Olympic games at Los Angeles.
"From virtually nothing, field hockey in that country developed with such speed that less than 20 years later, the woman's team were world champions and just last year won a silver medal in Beijing," he added.