(SATSports) – The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed its intention to push for cricket’s inclusion in the Olympic Games arguing that its addition would be beneficial to both the sport and the Games themselves.
A statement from the sport’s world governing body on Tuesday said its primary target will be to have the sport included in the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.
“Thirty-million cricket fans live in the USA, making LA 2028 the ideal Games for cricket to make its return to Olympic competition. Cricket, till now, has made just one appearance in the Olympics, way back in 1900 in Paris when only two teams competed at the event – Great Britain and hosts France – meaning the sport’s inclusion in 2028 would mark the end of a 128-year absence,” the statement read in part.
The statement added that a working group has already been constituted to begin preparations for a bid.
The ICC Olympic Working Group will be chaired by England and Wales Cricket Board chair Ian Watmore. Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chair Tavengwa Mukuhlani is also part of the group.
According to the ICC, cricket being part of next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will be a “momentous occasion” itself and a “perfect showcase for what the sport can bring to the Olympics”.
Women’s cricket will feature at the Commonwealth Games for the first time, and cricket for the second time, after a men’s One-Day International (ODI) competition, which was staged in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, was won by South Africa.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games is expected to take place from July 28 to August 8 next year.
ICC Chair Greg Barclay noted that securing the sport’s inclusion will not be easy but they felt it was time “ to show, what a great partnership cricket and the Olympics are”.
“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 percent 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.”