Buoyed by its inclusion Tuesday on the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games program, the sport of cricket has now set a target to join the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.
The Women’s Twenty20 cricket format is now set to be staged in Birmingham and it will be the first time the sport appears at the quadrennial event since South Africa won gold in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
Having now been recognized by the Commonwealth Games, and with the sport likely to be included in China at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is now looking forward to the Olympics.
“There is still much to be done if cricket is to be included in the Olympics, with Los Angeles 2028 the earliest likely opportunity, and the ICC continuing to work internally to align cricket to pursue the sport’s Olympic ambitions,” a released statement read.
“Fast and exciting, the T20 format is the perfect fit for the Commonwealth Games and offers another chance to showcase women’s cricket on the global stage as part of our ambitious plans to accelerate the growth of the game, whilst inspiring the next generation of cricketers,” said Manu Sawhney, Chief Executive of the ICC.
The ICC had begun to campaign for inclusion at the Paris 2024 Games but was too late to join the race that eventually led to sport climbing, surfing, skateboarding and controversially breaking (break dancing) being recommended for the program. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board will likely grant final approval for these sports next year.
But any hopes that a Cricket gold medal will be awarded in California in 2028 are far-fetched, at best.
To be included on the Los Angeles 2028 Games program, cricket must first be selected by the local organizing committee as one of its additional choices in addition to the core events – a list usually containing four or five domestically significant sports.
The IOC must then approve the list, ensuring that the proposed events adhere to a set road map for the organization.
The IOC looks for sports that will appeal to youth, that will use existing venues and infrastructure to stage, and will maintain or improve athlete quotas and gender balance.
Baseball and softball, the linked sports that were chosen be staged in Tokyo next year but are due to be on hiatus at the Paris 2024 edition – are virtual locks to be included again in LA in 2028 where Dodger Stadium and millions of baseball fanatics beckon.
With those team sports on the schedule, there will be little room and even less interest in welcoming cricket instead to an American-based Games where the sport has a minimal following.
The Golden State will also likely welcome back surfing and skateboarding – two locally favourite pastimes that will also be featured on the Paris program – moving cricket further down the list.
Perhaps the ICC is better advised to look ahead to the 2032 Games while a regional bid by Australia’s state of Queensland led by capital Brisbane seems to be the current favorite to host.
With Australian interest in cricket far greater than that of baseball and softball, the ICC will be better positioned for a competitive bid.
The IOC could elect a 2032 Olympic Games host as early as next year with India, Indonesia, China and North and South Korea also expressing interest in bidding.
Los Angeles organizers will likely name their proposed additional sports in 2022.