Gentleman’s game has been in our hearts for years. But its absence from the grandest carnival of sports is a matter of disappointment for the die hard fans. If you also are one of the disappointed fan, then don’t be. Things might change soon as ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson recently said the governing body is keen on taking cricket to 2024 Olympics.
In the past as well ICC has tried to take cricket to the Olympics, but, there have been many hurdles. Dave Richardson has supported the idea of taking cricket to the Olympics. speaking in the SportPro conference in London Richardson hints there could be a possibility of having six to eight teams featuring in the game in T20.
“We need to make a decision by July this year so we can make an application in time for September, when, as I understand it, the IOC will consider new sports for 2024,” he said. “I think the majority of the members – and certainly myself – think the time is right and we’ve come to the conclusion that the overall benefit to the game in terms of globalizing and growing it, outweigh any negatives, so I’m hoping,” he further added.
Los Angeles and Paris are the front runners for the 2024 Olympics hosting with the final decision yet to be made. Rome was also in the race but pulled out from the bidding, Rome supported the inclusion of cricket.
Dave believes both America and France are good venues for cricket. “T20 is the ideal format and we’d say even better than rugby sevens as it’s actually one of the mainstream formats of cricket. Neither LA or Paris would be a disaster for us, in fact, both would be opportunistic, especially the US option,” he added.
There were two T20s played in Florida between India and West Indies which saw good number of supporters turned into the stadium.
The United States of America also hosted All-Stars league in 2015 featuring two teams led by Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne. Both the teams comprised the legends from the cricket. The league received an overwhelming response.
Previously the boards that were being the hurdle were BCCI and ECB. ECB opposed this idea due to their home season clashing with the event. New chairman Colin Graves has welcomed the idea of Olympics since taking over in 2015.
“From an ICC perspective, the fixture calendar is the most challenging part of it. In the northern hemisphere, the Olympics are held in the English summer, so that’s a problem for them if they’ve got an Ashes series on. So there will be issues and England in the past have said ‘are we sure we want to go down this route?” he added.
He continued that IOC had called for the best players to take part in the event for the gentleman’s game to be included. “They’ve 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,” he said.