Cricket's push to be a part of the Olympic Games received a major boost with International Olympic Council (IOC) on Friday granting recognition to International Cricket Council.
The IOC in its meeting here voted to recognise the ICC and the federations of sport climbing and power boating.
"They are recognised federations by us, which now means that they can take part in IOC events," IOC director of communications Mark Adams said after the meeting held ahead of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
"It could be seen as a first step towards becoming Olympic sports," he added.
After the IOC decision, cricket -- most likely its Twenty20 version, can now bid to join the 2020 Olympic Games though ICC has not made it clear which format it will push for.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has welcomed the decision and termed it as the first step towards cricket's inclusion in the Olympics.
"We are very proud and very pleased that we have been recognised by the IOC and that was the first step in the process (to be included in the Olympics) that we have engaged in. The IOC gets through a thorough process before they provide the recognition," Lorgat said.
Cricket was granted the status of a recognised Olympic sport in 2007, for sports not in the Olympic programme but which conform to certain criteria, pending a decision for a permanent slot in the Games.
Former players including Adam Gilchrist, Steve Waugh, Stephen Fleming, Kumar Sangakkara, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman have called for Twenty20's inclusion in the Olympics.
Cricket was part of the 1900 Olympics in Paris and has not appeared since then. The game was part of the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games and its Twenty20 version is set to feature at this year's Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.