PARIS: Cricket’s world governing body said on Monday that it intends to push for the sport’s return to the Olympics at the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.
The International Cricket Council said it would start preparations on an Olympic campaign to point out “the sport’s inclusion in 2028 would mark the end of a 128-year absence.”
Cricket has appeared once in the Olympics, at Paris in 1900, where the Devon and Somerset Wanderers, representing Great Britain, beat the only other entrants, a team of British embassy staff appearing as France, by 158 runs in a one-innings match.
ICC chair Greg Barclay said the Tokyo Games, which ended on Sunday, had been an inspiration and that cricket’s large fanbase meant it should be invited to the party.
“I would like to congratulate the IOC, Tokyo 2020, and the people of Japan for staging such an incredible Games in such difficult circumstances,” Barclay said in an ICC statement.
“It truly was fantastic to watch and captured the imagination of the world and we would love for cricket to be a part of future Games.”
“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,” said Barclay.
“Clearly cricket has a strong and passionate fanbase, particularly in South Asia where 92 per cent of our fans come from, whilst there are also 30 million cricket fans in the USA,” Barclay said. “The opportunity for those fans to see their heroes competing for an Olympic medal is tantalising.”
Barclay pointed out that cricket will be returning to the Commonwealth Games in 2022 in Birmingham which will include a women’s T20 competition. The sport previously appeared in the Commonwealth Games in 1998 in Malaysia, when South Africa won a 50-over competition.
“The sport will feature in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games next year, which shapes as a perfect showcase for what the sport can bring to the Olympics, as well as being a momentous occasion on its own,” the ICC statement said.
“We know it won’t be easy to secure our inclusion as there are so many other great sports out there wanting to do the same. But we feel now is the time to put our best foot forward and show what a great partnership cricket and the Olympics are,” Barclay said.