By Duncan Mackay

India is blocking attempts for cricket to bid to be part of the Olympic programme ©AFP/Getty ImagesIndia's refusal to back a campaign to try to get cricket back on the Olympic programme has been criticised by Randhir Singh, secretary general of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

The dramatic emergence of Twenty20 has led to calls for the sport to launch a  bid to become an Olympic sport.

But The Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI), the sport's most powerful governing body, are refusing to support it over fears it would jeopardise their autonomy.

A report on the potential benefits of cricket becoming an Olympic sport in 2024, due to be discussed at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Annual Conference in Melbourne today, will claim that it would receive a "projected" dividend of US $15-20 million (£9/€11-£12/€15 million) from the International Olympic Committee.

In addition, countries would receive increased financial support at home potentially worth "several million dollars" per year and an estimated $4-6 million (£2.5/€3-£3.5/€4 million) annually from Olympic Solidarity, claims the report prepared by Jon Long, the ICC's head of strategic management and support services.

The report, however, is unlikely to persuade India to back an Olympic bid, which Singh believes is damaging the sport's chances of growing around the world. 

Indian IOC member Randhir Singh is openly critical of his own country's cricket federation to back a bid to make the sport part of the Olympics ©OCAIndian IOC member Randhir Singh is openly critical of his own country's cricket federation to back a bid to make the sport part of the Olympics ©OCA

"If cricket was on the Olympic programme it would give a great boost, it would not be restricted to the few countries where it's played and it would come on a global stage where all the greats of the world of sport are playing," Singh, a member of the International Olympic Committee, told ESPNcricinfo.

India's opposition is shared by England because an Olympics would almost every clash with their domestic season once every four years, potentially costing them $160 million (£94 million/€117 million) in lost revenue. 

Singh, though, believes the sacrifice would be worth it for the opportunity of being part of the Olympics.

"It's a question of 15 days, how does it make a difference?," he told ESPNcricinfo.

"Every international sport fixes their calendar around the Olympics and they aren't something that's shifted around.

"I think cricket can work its calendar around that."

Cricket's only appearance in the Olympics came at Paris in 1900 when  a single match between Britain and France decided the gold medal.

The British, represented by a team from Devon and Somerset Wanderers, beat the French, comprised mainly of British expatriates living in Paris, by 158 runs.

Cricket - for both men and women - made its debut at the Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010 ©AFP/Getty ImagesCricket - for both men and women - made its debut at the Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010 ©AFP/Getty Images

Cricket's only appearance at the Commonwealth Games came at Kuala Lumpur in 1998 when it was played over 50 overs.

A top-class tournament, featuring seven of the nine Test playing countries eligible, including India, but not England, was won by a South African side containing Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis, Makhaya Ntini, Mark Boucher, and Herschelle Gibbs after they beat an Australian team containing several of its top players.

Singh claimed that the BCCI blocked his attempts to have it included as part of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi four years ago.

He is also critical of his country's decision not to take part in the Asian Games after it became a medal sport at Guangzhou in 2010.

India also does not plan to take part in the Games at Incheon later this year.

"They should send a team and I hope they do so," Singh told ESPNcricinfo.

"Even China is putting up teams and other countries in Asia are following suit.

"Why not cricket, the sport needs to be expanded."

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