The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday confirmed its intention to bid for cricket’s inclusion in the Olympic Games beginning with Los Angeles 2028 (LA28) edition.
“We would love for cricket to be a part of future Games. Our sport is united behind this bid, 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 per cent of them want to see cricket at the Olympics,” said Greg Barclay, the ICC chairman in a statement.
The ICC has convened a working group meeting which will be focused on cricket becoming part of the Olympic family for Los Angeles Games 2028, Brisbane Games 2032 and beyond.
“Clearly cricket has a strong and passionate fan base, particularly in South Asia where many of our fans come from, while 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,” said Barclay.
England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Ian Watmore will chair the ICC Olympic Working Group and he will be joined by the ICC independent director Indra Nooyi, chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket Tavengwa Mukuhlani, ICC associate member director and vice-president of the Asian Cricket Council Mahinda Vallipuram and chairman of USA Cricket Paraag Marathe.
“We believe cricket would be a great addition to the Olympic Games, but 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 could be,” added Barclay.
The ICC’s LA28 proposal received a big boost in April when the Indian cricket board agreed to send its men’s and women’s teams to the 2028 Olympics, if cricket is included. Greats such as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting have backed the ICC proposal.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India had earlier been the biggest opponents of cricket’s inclusion in Olympics. The process for inclusion of sports in LA28 begins in mid-2022. The International Olympic Committee will take a decision on the LOC’s proposals for inclusion of sports in mid-2023.