Friday, October 13, 2023
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'Historic' as IOC approves inclusion of cricket in LA28 Olympics

Committee also approved inclusion of four other games — baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse and squash

LA28 Olympics logo (left), England Cricket team players celebrating with World Cup 2019 trophy after winning the final match against New Zealand. — la28.org/ICC/File
LA28 Olympics logo (left), England Cricket team players celebrating with World Cup 2019 trophy after winning the final match against New Zealand. — la28.org/ICC/File

In a landmark achievement for the sport and the cricket fraternity the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has given the nod for the inclusion of cricket in the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 (LA28) which will be held in the United States.

Apart from cricket's T20 format, IOC's Executive Board (EB) also submitted four other sports namely baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse and squash as additional sports to be included in the 2028 Olympic games.

"Cricket has more than 2.5 billion fans worldwide and represents an invaluable opportunity to engage with new countries and communities," the press release issued by the IOC said.

Expressing his views on the development, IOC President Thomas Bach said that the inclusion of these sports will "allow the Olympic Movement to engage with new athletes and fan communities in the US and globally”.

Speaking at a media briefing on Friday, the IOC president said all five sports were "in line" with the general ethos of the LA28.

"These proposals have been accepted as a package by the IOC executive board taking into consideration that these proposals and these sports are fully in line with the sports culture of our host in '28, with the American sports culture," Bach said.

"They will showcase iconic American sports to the world while bringing at the same time international sports to the United States. The inclusion will, on the other hand, allow the Olympics to engage with new athletes and fan communities in the US and globally."

Furthermore, the International Cricket Council (ICC) proposed a six-team T20 event for both men and women. The participating teams would consist of the top-six ranked sides in the ICC's men's and women's T20 rankings as of a specific cut-off date.

The ICC advocated for the T20 format, as both LA28 and the IOC emphasised the need for a format with a world championship, a compact duration (ruling out ODIs), and significant spectator interest (ruling out T10).

It remains unconfirmed whether the ICC has finalised the tournament structure, which was still under discussion until recently.

Cricket, played by nearly half of the world's population, has been featured only once in the global games, 128 years ago during the 1900 Paris Olympics. On that occasion, a single match took place in which Great Britain emerged victorious against hosts France to claim the gold medal. The game spanned two days and featured four innings, similar to a first-class fixture.