Their on-field rivalry was one of cricket’s greatest but now India legend Sachin Tendulkar and Australian leg-spinning great Shane Warne are combining forces to take the game they love to the biggest stage of all.
The duo have joined the ever-louder chorus calling for the sport to be included in the Olympics.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is scheduled to meet the International Olympic Committee (IOC) next month to discuss a possible bid, with the Twenty20 format of the game most likely to be discussed.
Cricket has not featured in the Olympics since 1900, when Great Britain took on France in Paris, and the ICC has resisted attempts to include it in the Games in the past over fears that this might dilute existing competitions such as the 50-over World Cup and World Twenty20.
“I’d love to see it as an Olympic sport and, who knows, down the track it might be,” the BBC quoted former Warne as saying.
“I think it’s a great idea and I reckon T20 is the best format for it,” former India batsman and test cricket’s all-time leading run-scorer Tendulkar said.
“It’s the most acceptable format for people who don’t have any knowledge about cricket or the ones who need an introduction to cricket.
“The game is over in three hours and it’s like any sport — you go to a stadium and after three hours you get back to your work,” the former India captain added.
The duo are captaining rival teams in a series of three Twenty20 All Star matches in the United States in November as part of an attempt to raise cricket’s profile in north America.
Their backing for an Olympic bid will increase the pressure on the ICC to reverse its resistance to the idea.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in July urged the sport’s ruling body to try to get the game’s Twenty20 international format into the Olympics.
The MCC, founded in 1787 and the owner of the Lord’s ground where it is based, was formerly the governing body of world cricket and is the guardian of the laws of the game.
Warne said he was in favour of the Twenty20 format for the Olympics, but is open to the idea of indoor cricket being chosen as well.
“If it advertises the game of cricket and the skill and athleticism that are involved in a game of cricket then great,” he said.
“I haven’t seen a game of indoor cricket for a long time so I don’t know how good indoor cricket is at the moment. But the last time I saw it, it was fantastic — so hopefully they have grown a different skill for it.
“Ideally, I’d stick to Twenty20 because it’s over in three hours, it’s easy to organise and you play two or three games a day. I’d include the associate nations because it’s helping spread the word of cricket.”