Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Twenty20 is 'perfect fit' for Olympics - Watson

Shane Watson: "Everybody who plays elite sport dreams of gold".

The allrounder Shane Watson would be 39 if Twenty20 completed an astonishing rise to Olympic status by 2020, but he is still excited by the outside prospect of taking part. "As a cricketer it would be great to think you could achieve an Olympic gold medal in your career," he said. "Everybody who plays elite sport dreams of Olympic gold."

Watson's credentials in cricket's shortest format are outstanding - he was the player of the tournament in the inaugural Indian Premier League and is a brutal hitter and economical bowler. He has stepped into line with a large group of current and former stars who support Adam Gilchrist's Games proposal, including Steve Waugh, Stephen Fleming and Sourav Ganguly.

"This brand of cricket is a perfect fit for the Olympic schedule," Watson said. He received a taste of what the Games meant when Sir Steve Redgrave, the five-time Olympic gold medallist, spoke to the Australian team during its successful campaign at the 2007 World Cup.

"Everyone wants to be part of the Olympic Games," he said. "I think we should continue to explore this."

While Mitchell Johnson, Watson's former Queensland team-mate, said it would be "pretty cool" to play at the Olympics, he told AAP Tests remained the "ultimate". "You ask all the other guys and they'll say the same thing," he said.

"Test match cricket is what they want to play. Hopefully it can stay like that and Twenty20 not take over, but I'm pretty confident Test match cricket is staying strong."