The International Cricket Council (ICC) has officially launched its intention for the sport to be included in the Olympic Games from 2028 onwards.
After years of speculation that cricket planned to return to the Games for the first time since the 1900 Olympics in Paris, its governing body has announced the establishment of a working group that will lead a bid on the sport’s behalf to be included in the Los Angeles Games in 2028.
The news comes just days after the conclusion of the 2020 Tokyo Games, and just weeks after Brisbane was confirmed as the host city for the 2032 event.
“Our sport is united behind this bid, and we see the Olympics as a part of cricket’s long-term future,” ICC chairman Greg Barclay said in a statement.
“We have more than a billion fans globally and almost 90% of them want to see cricket at the Olympics.
“Clearly cricket has a strong and passionate fanbase, particularly in South Asia where 92% of our fans come from, while 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.
“We believe cricket would be a great addition to the Olympic Games, but we know it won’t be easy to secure our inclusion as there are so many other great sports out there wanting to do the same. But we feel now is the time to put our best foot forward and show what a great partnership cricket and the Olympics could be.”
The ICC’s statement did not clarify which format of the game it would promote for inclusion.
Cricket officials had previously floated the idea of indoor or beach cricket for the Olympics, but the 20-over game – or even the new 100-ball format recently launched in England – looms as the most likely option.
The ICC’s working group will include the chairman of USA Cricket, Paraag Marathe, who will play an important role ahead of what will be the first Games to be held on US soil since 1996.
“With so many passionate cricket fans and players already in the USA, and a huge global audience and following for the sport around the world, we believe that cricket’s inclusion will add great value to the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games and help us to achieve our own vision for establishing cricket as a mainstream sport in this country,” he said.
Women’s T20 cricket will be a part of next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the first time the sport has been included since 1998, which could provide a template for the Olympics bid.