Paul Farbrace has returned from coaching Team Abu Dhabi in the Abu Dhabi T10 convinced that the format is the one to earn cricket inclusion in the Olympic Games.
Team Abu Dhabi finished third in the tournament under Warwickshire director of cricket Farbrace and with Bears players Danny Briggs and Chris Benjamin in the squad.
All three have learned loads to bring back to the Bears’ T20 campaign in 2022, believes Farbrace, who also reckons they sampled the format that could return cricket to the Olympics for the first time since 1900.
Only once before, in Paris in 1900, has it featured in the Games and then only two countries – Great Britain and France – competed. Britain took gold from the rather small field but cricket now has a much wider appeal and Farbrace believes T10 would have broadest of all.
“I think T10 is the ideal vehicle to get cricket into the Olympics,” he said. “It is a much shorter, faster game but still with a high level of skill and it really is the sort of format that we could take to the world. I think we could take that into the Olympics and it would get people involved and be a brilliant advert for the game.
“We need to sell the game to new audiences around the world. The Hundred did a brilliant job in England last year and I’m sure that will expand again next year with an even higher quality of overseas player in both the men’s and women’s game. The Hundred was really well-received, which shows the appeal that cricket has as a sport, but I think that T10 is the best vehicle to get the sport into the Olympics. I’d love to think at the next summer Olympics we will have T10 cricket in there.”Paul Farbrace
While the International Olympic Committee ponder whether the global Games audience is ready for the world of slog-sweeps, slower balls, laps and leg-byes, the Bears are getting planning in earnest for next season – and Farbrace insists the three Bears have returned from Abu Dhabi having learned much.
“It was a really good all-round experience,” he said. “It was a shame we didn’t play well enough on the penultimate day to get into the in final but it was a well-organised tournament with some good cricket and I was lucky to be part of it.
“Myself Danny and Chris all benefited from the experience. For Chris to practice with Liam Livingstone every day and talk to him about his game was fantastic. He also had Chris Gayle, Colin Ingram, Phil Salt and others around – a lot of people who Benjy will have learned a lot from. It was a really valuable opportunity for him.
“I have certainly come back with ideas on different skills and approaches used, new slower balls, how to squeeze pressure, new ideas on bowling at batters who are on the charge. I have also shared with Robbo a lot of stats on players around the world and trends starting to appear in T20.”
Next week that info will be discussed with West Indies ace Carlos Brathwaite who will skipper the Bears in the blast in 2022.
“Carlos has been in America for the last few weeks on a course at Harvard University but Robbo and I are meeting him in London next week,” Farbrace said. “That will be the first of many conversations throughout the winter. We are putting a lot of stock into the T20 campaign next season – we want to be part of the great day that is Finals Day at Edgbaston and that’s why we have appointed Carlos as captain because he has such experience and knowledge to bring to our squad.”
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