Cricket at the Olympics- can this long cherished dream be finally realized?
According to MCC World Cricket Committee chairman Mike Gatting, it can. Gatting has been in talks with the people concerned and is working with the ICC in getting cricket to be included in the Los Angeles Olympics Games in 2028.
This isn’t the first time that discussions on cricket to be included in the Olympics have come up. However, this time the talks seem to be heading in the right direction.
“We were talking with Manu Sawhney the ICC chief exec, and he was very hopeful we can get cricket into the 2028 Olympics,” Gatting said to the press earlier this week. “That’s what they’re working towards at the moment and that would be a huge bonus for cricket worldwide, it would be fantastic.”
It would indeed be a great bonus for cricket if it can be a part of the Olympics. The game needs a worldwide audience and the Olympics is a certain way to provide that.
On previous occasions, the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) had created hurdles as it was not under the arms of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) – an affiliate of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
But with the BCCI recently coming under the ambit of that issue has been negated and the ICC can apply to the Olympics. This will help a long way in getting the sport to be whole. And there’s genuine hope that matters will progress in the right direction now.
There’s some good news to celebrate immediately, though. It has been confirmed that women’s cricket will be a part of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games – the first time that the sport will be played at the event since the 1998 edition. The 2022 edition will see women’s T20 cricket in all likelihood, although the final decision will depend on a vote by the 71 member associations. This should go through and that would be historic for women’s cricket.
Also, this does put women’s and international cricket as a whole in very good stead. The 2022 Commonwealth Games can be a great teaser of cricket for the world to see and it would shape things nicely for cricket to be included in the Olympics.
Another thing that created a hurdle in previous years for cricket in the Olympics was its format. The 50-over format was pitched and with it being close to 8 hours long it simply didn’t make a feasible sport to have at a world sporting event. In fact, cricket’s tepid response in the 1998 Commonwealth Games was precisely because of that – the audience which had never seen cricket found the ODI format too long and boring.
The format to be pitched at the Olympics now has to be the T20 one. It is most popular cricket format in the non-cricketing nations at the moment and would be the perfect one to get a new audience. At about 3 and half hours, T20 cricket is non-stop action, has a lot of thrill and has all the ingredients of a limited overs cricket match. It would be a great advert for cricket internationally and the Olympics can escalate the popularity of cricket exponentially.
Here’s hoping that cricket finally gets an opportunity to be inducted in the Olympics. The game and its fans really needs that at the moment.