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  • Cricket Chiefs Talk Olympics with IOC President


    (ATR) Leaders of the International Cricket Council (ICC) say they had a “positive meeting” with IOC president Thomas Bach about cricket’s road to the Olympics.

    ICC chief executive David Richardson (Getty)
    “We met the IOC president and we have really explored the possibilities, at least we are talking, and we are open to the opportunity if it's worthwhile to include cricket in Olympics," said ICC chief executive David Richardson.

    The ICC chief and general manager Geoff Allardice say the federation is vying for the 2024 Games and exploring ways to remove hurdles that may hinder the federation from being accepted by the IOC.

    Richardson conceded it would not be easy earning a place onto the Olympic program as there are other sports vying for the limited spots.

    "If the ICC is committed then we have to overcome the hurdle of the IOC accepting cricket because there are a lot of other sports that want inclusion in the 2024 Olympics," says Richardson.

    Under the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020, host cities are allowed to recommend additional sports to the existing 28 on the program.

    A player from New Zealand hits a run. (Getty)
    Tokyo 2020 was the first host to recommend additional sports, submitting five sports to the IOC for approval. A total of 26 federations applied for entry, yet cricket was not one of them.

    Although the ICC did not apply for 2020, the federation is making strides towards greater involvement in international multi-sport events. Cricket was played at each of the last two editions of the Asian Games in 2010 and 2014 using the format known as Twenty20.

    Twenty20 (t20) is the shortest format of cricket and the one most likely to be included in the Olympics, according to former professional cricket star Sachin Tendulkar.

    "I reckon the t20 format is the most popular format and the most acceptable format for people who don't have any knowledge about cricket,” he says, noting that other formats often take multiple days to complete a single match.

    Australian cricket legend Shane Warne plays in a game against India. (Getty)
    The city the IOC selects as host of the 2024 Games will also play a large role in which additional sports to include. Los Angeles, Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome are the candidates. None of the five cities have a strong affinity for the sport, which could spell difficulties for winning support to be part of the 2024 Games.

    However, Tendulkar and fellow former cricket star Shane Warne organized the Cricket All-Star Series in America to increase cricket’s popularity in the country. The tour began in New York and visited several major league baseball stadiums before coming to a close in Los Angeles.

    Tendulkar and Warne both came out of retirement to captain the two teams. The tour coincided with the ICC visit to Lausanne to meet with Bach and other IOC members.

    Warne said it would be “an exciting thought” to see American children playing cricket opposed to baseball.

    "Who knows, down the track we might be able to inspire some young Americans to take up a cricket bat rather than a baseball bat,” said Warne.

    Written by Kevin Nutley

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