The International Cricket Council (ICC) is all set to bid for cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics as it had recently convened a Working Group to lead the bid on behalf of the sport which will be focused on cricket becoming part of Los Angeles 2028, Brisbane 2032 and further.
Notably, the sport had last featured in the 1900 Paris Olympics.
Although, the Twenty20 format is tailor-made for Olympics, the ICC is ready to go with any format which would ensure the game’s inclusion in the 2028 Olympics, USA Cricket chief Paraag Marathe, who is also a part of the ICC Olympic Working Group, which is chaired by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Ian Watmore, has said.
“I am hopeful that it is very likely. For the first time ever 106 member nations of the ICC are supportive of getting cricket into the Olympics,” Marathe was quoted as saying by the Sport Unlocked podcast.
“I think the T20 format is one that is easily digestible and works. It certainly works from a timing perspective. It fits the format of American sports, roughly three hours,” he explained.
“It’s an understood format because of the success of the IPL…but of course we will work with the IOC and if there is a different format they prefer then we are open to it. The most important thing for us is to get cricket in the Games. We do go in thinking that T20 is probably the best,” Marathe added.
Marathe, who met Watmore recently to discuss the matter, also said that cricket’s inclusion in Olympics was not a “foregone conclusion”.
“I just know that for the first time we have a united effort of wanting to be in the Olympics and it’s long overdue in my opinion,” he said.
Significantly, the T20 format, which hardly lasts for three hours, has proved quite successful in recent times with several franchise-based leagues flourishing globally.
T20’s succes can also be best illustrated by the global popularity of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL).
Meanwhile, the recent success of the inaugural edition of The Hundred competition in England, which used a 100-ball format, has emerged as another alternative to the T20 cricket.