(REUTERS) – The MCC World Cricket committee has asked the powerful Indian board to back the bid for the sport’s Olympics inclusion, saying it would greatly benefit the game.Cricket was last played at the Olympics in the 1900 Paris Games and the governing International Cricket Council (ICC) has said most of its members backed the inclusion of the 20-overs format in Olympic Games.The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is open to cricket’s future inclusion provided all top teams compete but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the game’s richest and most influential board, has been rather reluctant.After the MCC Committee meetings this week, the panel of former players requested the BCCI to reconsider its stance.“It’s one of those things that have frustrated me,” committee chairman Mike Gatting told a news conference.”We would like to urge the BCCI to have a look at it again and support the main body of boards that would like to get into the Olympics…“It seems strange that everyone else seems happy to get in there because it’s just going to be so good for the game,” said the former England captain.“Free-to-air TV all over the world: It’s only once every four years. It’s not going to be a scheduling matter. It just seems they seem reticent to try and get involved.”The Indian board has not been keen on cricket’s Olympic inclusion partly because of apprehensions that BCCI might lose its autonomy and be answerable to the country’s Olympic committee.Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who is part of the 14-person independent committee along with Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara, Indian Sourav Ganguly and Rod Marsh of Australia, said the sport must be represented by its best players at the Olympics.“We’re very conscious of not lessening the product we’re putting out,” Ponting said.”If cricket makes it into the Olympics it has to be the best players and showcasing the sport for what it is.“The players would want it because of how beneficial they would see that being for the game going forward.”The independent committee also discussed the wage gap in the international game, making helmets compulsory and DRS technology among a variety of other topics.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The leader of the main opposition United National Congress (UNC), Kamla Persad Bissessar has written to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley requesting that international observers be present in Trinidad and Tobago for the August 10 general election. “International election observation or monitoring is an important mechanism for ensuring election integrity, and the UNC is of the firm view that international observers are needed to ensure that our election is conducted in a free, fair, and just manner that will reflect the true mandate of the people.” Persad Bissessar said that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has seen the critical role both international and CARICOM observers have played within the recent elections in Guyana. She told Rowley that as a member of a CARICOM delegation that visited Georgetown to meet with the main actors in the disputed elections “.you can attest to the importance of international and regional observers in national elections today. She said Rowley must act “urgently” on this matter “so as to ensure we do not miss the window of opportunity given the COVID-19 protocols to which we must all adhere. “In Guyana, four months after national elections were held on 2 March 2020, an elected President is yet to be declared, with allegations of election rigging and impropriety now being litigated at Guyana’s highest Court, the Caribbean Court of Justice.” “Therefore, I call for exemptions to international observers to be granted as early as possible, so that the quarantine period can be completed well ahead of the General Election,” said Persad Bissessar, who had warned previously that lawyers representing the party were on standby to challenge the.government’s decision to continue to keep the borders closed even during the election period. “Citizens are also paying close attention to the Government’s position on the call for international observers for the 2020 General Election. A responsible government should do the right thing to ensure not just free and fair elections, but elections that are free of fear,” she wrote, urging that invitations be sent to CARICOM, the United nations, the Commonwealth and the Carter Center. She said that had it not been for the presence of international observers, “it is highly likely that …Guyana’s election process may be viewed as even further compromised”. Persad Bissessar’s UNC will contest 39 of the 41 seats in the elections, while the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) will contest all the seats. In the last general election, the PNM won 23 seats. In her letter, a copy of which was made available to the media, the Opposition Leader said that while the UNC acknowledges the ongoing global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the public health regulations that are currently in effect, “we are very concerned that measures are not in place to ensure citizens are able to exercise their franchise. She said that international observers have in the past, played an important role in Trinidad and Tobago’s elections and as a result does “not see any reason for you as the Prime Minister to deny this legitimate request in accordance with convention and international best practice. “At this juncture, there is sufficient time for international observers to enter Trinidad and Tobago, undergo quarantine, and upon testing negative for COVID-19, assume their duties. Any delays in issuing invitations to international agencies, however, could lead to our nation being deprived of this integral mechanism to monitor our election.” CMC