ICC chief executive Dave Richardson believes the time is right to apply for an Olympic spot for cricket.
The last time cricket made an appearance in the prestigious tournament was in 1900, when Great Britain beat France to win gold, and the ICC believes it’s time that the sport is re-introduced through T20s.
The International Olympic Committee has entered preliminary talks with the ICC and applications for introducing new sports will open in September.
‘I think the majority of the members – and certainly myself – think the time is right,’ said Richardson. ‘We’ve come to the conclusion that the overall benefit to the game, in terms of globalising and growing it, outweighs any negatives.
‘The IOC hasn’t said an existing sport would have to go to make room for cricket, but that they’ve got an overall limit on the number of athletes they have to take into account when making any decision on a new sport.
‘As a team sport we would only fit six to eight teams. They’ve also told us we mustn’t send beach cricket or six-a-side teams. It must be a format played at international level and it must be our top players.
‘T20 is ideal, and we’d say even better than rugby sevens, as it’s actually one of the mainstream formats of cricket.’
The ICC will have their sights on a 2024 comeback, but the fact that the games will be staged in Los Angeles or Paris might hamper their chances, as the countries mentioned are not known as cricketing nations.
Richardson is hopeful that this will be an opportunity to grow the sport.
‘Neither would be a disaster for us,’ added Richardson.
‘In fact both would be opportunistic, especially the US option, and even Paris wouldn’t be impossible.
‘From an ICC perspective, scheduling is the biggest challenge. In the northern hemisphere, the Olympics are held in the English summer, so that’s a problem if there’s an Ashes series on.’
An Olympic T20 tournament could be the perfect chance for the sport to grow beyond its current expected market.
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