Cricket is set to make an Olympic return for the first time in 128 years after being proposed for inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Games.
- Cricket has only been played once at the Olympics, in 1900.
- Next year’s T20 World Cup will be co-hosted by the United States and the West Indies
- Cricket returned to the Commonwealth Games last year, with Australia winning gold
If accepted, this would lock it in for Brisbane 2032.
Other sports on the list to be included in Los Angeles are flag football – a version of OzTag-style gridiron – as well as lacrosse, squash, baseball and softball – the latter two have competed in several Olympics but neither will not be played next year in Paris.
No more breakdancing, which will be a new thing after its debut in Paris next year. Other categories that are not included include motor sports, kickboxing and karate.
Cricket was a success at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, with Australia winning gold.
The format was T20, as should be the case at the Olympics, but unlike Birmingham where only women played, the LA 2028 plan would also include a men’s tournament.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has made the case for the sport’s inclusion and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) appears to have been convinced by the prospect of entering the lucrative Indian television market.
ICC president Greg Barclay was cautiously optimistic, two years after the governing body announced it would bid for the sport to be included in the Olympics.
“We are delighted that LA28 has recommended the inclusion of cricket in the Olympics,” he said.
“While this is not the final decision, it is a very important step towards cricket’s participation in the Olympic Games for the first time in over a century.”
This is part of the push for cricket in North America, with the 2024 T20 World Cup to be co-hosted by the United States and traditional cricket propelling the West Indies.
The Olympic proposal is expected to be approved by the IOC at the end of this week.
The 141st IOC session is coincidentally taking place in the Indian city of Mumbai, where the impact of the Cricket World Cup can be seen up close.
Casey Wasserman, President of LA28, said: “The sports on offer ignite the imagination on the playing field and chase the culture off it.
“They are relevant, innovative and community-oriented, played in backyards, schoolyards, community centers, stadiums and parks across the United States and around the world.”
Cricket has been played once before at the Olympics, in Paris in 1900. Due to retirements, it was a two-innings match in which Great Britain beat France by 158 runs. Each team had 12 players, all but two of whom had never played first-class cricket, and most of the French team were English expatriates.
With five team sports significantly increasing their numbers, other sports may have to reduce the number of disciplines in 2028 to help the IOC meet its limit of 10,500 athletes at the Summer Olympics.
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