The International Cricket Council on Tuesday (August 10) confirmed its intention to bid for cricket’s inclusion in the Olympic Games. The ICC has convened a Working Group to lead the bid on behalf of the sport, which will be focused on cricket becoming part of the Olympic family for Los Angeles 2028, Brisbane 2032 and beyond.
“Firstly on behalf of everyone at the ICC, I would like to congratulate the IOC, Tokyo 2020 and the people of Japan for staging such an incredible Games in such difficult circumstances. 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,” ICC Chair Greg Barclay said in a statement.
“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 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.
“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,” Barclay added.
England and Wales Cricket Board Chair Ian Watmore will head this 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.
“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. 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,” Marathe said.
The BCCI in its Apex Council meeting in April had given a conditional nod to send a team for the 2028 edition if its autonomy wasn’t disturbed and there was no interference from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The BCCI, IOA and government though are working in sync.