Cricket in 2028 Olympics will be a unique experience for players: Pietersen

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New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen believes that playing in the Olympic Games would be the "most unbelievable experience" for a cricketer. Reflecting on his own illustrious career, which includes winning a T20 World Cup and memorable victories against cricketing giants like India and Australia, the 43-year-old emphasised the unique prestige and excitement for the quadrennial extravaganza.

Cricket has been added to the Olympics for the 2028 Games. As per ICC, the Games is estimated to have an audience of more than 3 billion viewers across TV and digital platforms. The global sport will be part of the Olympic Games programme for the first time since 1900.

"I never played an Olympic game. I was lucky enough to win a T20 World Cup, and playing in the World Cups, and beat India here, and beat Australia in Australia. But when you look at the opportunity for these guys to play in the Olympic games, that’s pretty cool. Golf came in Olympics a couple of games ago, Justin Rose won the first one, he’s a buddy of mine. He said it’s the most unbelievable experience to play in the Olympic games," Pietersen said in Podcast series '180 Not Out'.

"It’s something that you don’t do! For cricket, it is winding back the clock and going into the Olympic games. That’s quite something. Just a unique experience! I think it’s more of an experience because it comes around every four years. It’s not like an IPL which comes around every April-May. It’s not like a SA'20, The Hundred, or one of these competitions. It’s something that happens every four years. You go for the gold, but you take an experience," he added.

Former South Africa opener Hashim Amla, who also appeared on the podcast, noted the tough decision players face between franchise leagues and international cricket amid the sport's rising popularity.

"It’s really tugging at (players)... national team seems to be tugging the shirt at one side and franchise cricket at the other end. It’s put players in a type of dilemma of which way to go and how do they want their career to be. It’s a very tough decision to make. I think, you’ll have to make sure that the Olympic sports is in a gap so it doesn’t clash with any other league if you were to have a pure Olympic. How they do it I don’t know, but I hope they do," said Amla.

Former Indian pacer S Sreesanth, who was in the 2011 World Cup winning team, said if India wins a gold medal in Los Angeles Olympics, that would be "icing on the cake".

"I will pick Olympics because whenever we won the world cup … and I’m from Kerala, a land of Olympians .. whenever in track and field, they go, 'Olympians' is written in front of their house. For me it’s like an Oscar, but Oscars happen every year and Olympics happen once in four years, just like the World Cup. It will be the epitome if India wins the Olympic gold medal. That would be icing on the cake," said Sreesanth.