Cricket is closing in on an Olympic return, some 128 years since its final look, amid rising confidence of its inclusion on the 2028 Video games in Los Angeles and past.
Sources have informed the Guardian the prospect is now “very seemingly” that males’s and girls’s Twenty20 competitions – with gold medals at stake – will lastly make the reduce for Olympic inclusion, opening up a probably profitable business market within the Asian subcontinent.
The present proposal is for 5 groups in every competitors, with qualification primarily based on the Worldwide Cricket Council’s world rankings. It will be the primary Olympic cricket witnessed since a one-off gold medal match within the 1900 Video games in Paris.
It will additionally see the realisation of a long-term goal on the ICC, previous indifference to the Olympics having been changed by a want to increase the game globally lately and leading to a ladies’s T20 match on the 2022 Commonwealth Video games in Birmingham.
There’s additionally a robust monetary incentive for the Worldwide Olympic Committee, which made cricket certainly one of 9 shortlisted sports activities for LA 2028 together with baseball/softball, flag soccer, lacrosse, break dancing, karate, kickboxing, squash and motorsport.
The present Olympic broadcast rights in India are bought for particular person Video games and reported to be price simply £15.6m ($20m) for Paris 2024. However business specialists have informed the Guardian that, relying on the format and the variety of assured matches for India, this determine may very well be price as much as £150m if cricket is included in LA 2028 after which Brisbane in 2032.
Business preparations are seen as the one reasonable stumbling block. But it surely does imply staging the boys’s T20 World Cup in West Indies and the USA subsequent June is crucial, amid latest stories it may very well be moved to England on account of issues over infrastructure within the States; stories which proceed to be performed down by the ICC and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Ought to cricket make the reduce in LA – a choice on which is predicted earlier than the top of the 12 months – England would compete as Group GB. For the Commonwealth Video games in 2022, West Indies earned qualification via the rankings and have been represented by Barbados following a regional qualifier.
The game would additionally proceed its advance into america extra broadly, with Main League Cricket – a franchise Twenty20 league that includes worldwide gamers – about to finish its inaugural season.