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Sunday, October 24, 2021

ICC to push for cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Olympics


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Working group set up to see if the sport can be included in the Los Angeles games in 2028 and beyond

A wait of more than a century could come to an end in the 2028 Olympics with the ICC confirming that they have set up a working group to bid for cricket’s inclusion in the games to be held in Los Angeles.

The last time cricket was a part of the Olympics was in 1900, when Great Britain played France. But it could become a permanent fixture in the games with the ICC hoping to see it included in Brisbane 2032 as well and beyond.

“Our sport is united behind this bid,” ICC chair Greg Barkley said in a press release on Tuesday, “And we see the Olympics as a part of cricket’s long-term future. We have more than a billion fans globally and almost 90 percent of them want to see cricket at the Olympics.

“Clearly cricket has a strong and passionate fanbase, particularly in South Asia where 92% of our fans come from, whilst there are also 30 million cricket fans in the USA. The opportunity for those fans to see their heroes competing for an Olympic medal is tantalising.”

ECB board chair Ian Watmore will lead the ICC Olympic Working Group and he will be joined by the ICC independent director Indra Nooyi, chair of Zimbabwe Cricket Tavengwa Mukuhlani, ICC Associate member director and vice-president of the Asian Cricket Council Mahinda Vallipuram and chair of USA Cricket Paraag Marathe, who believes the time is ripe for an Olympic bid.

“USA Cricket is thrilled to be able to support cricket’s bid for inclusion in the Olympics, the timing of which aligns perfectly with our continuing plans to develop the sport in the USA,” Marathe said. “With so many passionate cricket fans and players already in the USA, and a huge global audience and following for the sport around the world, we believe that cricket’s inclusion will add great value to the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games and help us to achieve our own vision for establishing cricket as a mainstream sport in this country.”

There has been a concerted push for cricket to partake in global sporting events in recent times. It already has a place in the Commonwealth games coming up in 2022 and there came a big boost in April when the two boards which have historically had reservations about cricket in the Olympics – the ECB and the BCCI – came together and made room for the possibility while building the 2023-2031 international calendar. Though nothing has been finalised regarding format, there has been growing support for the T10 version.

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