Cricket at the 2024 Olympics?

“I think the majority of the members – and certainly myself – think the time is right”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson has revealed that he believes it is time for cricket to return to the Olympics.

Cricket has not been an Olympic sport since England beat France to win gold in 1900, but Richardson confirmed that the sport could make a comeback at the 2024 Olympics.

With the International Olympic Committee taking applications for new sports in September, Richardson feels that cricket can go well beyond its current boundaries if it were to feature at the Olympic Games, especially as the rugby sevens proved to be a major hit at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“I think the majority of the members – and certainly myself – think the time is right,” Richardson said. “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 haven’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.”

Even though the 2024 Olympics will either be held in Los Angeles or Paris, both of which are not cities known for cricket, Richardson feels that it could present the ICC with an opportunity to expand the reach of the sport to even more countries across the globe.

“Neither would be a disaster for us,” Richardson said. “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.

“There will be issues and England in the past have said, ‘Are we sure we want to go down this route?”‘

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