Dubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday confirmed that it will bid for cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
The ICC has been making the case for cricket’s inclusion for a while and the bid will also have the backing from the world’s richest board BCCI as made clear by secretary Jay Shah recently.
The ICC has also formed an Olympic Working Group which will work on making the game part of the Olympics starting from 2028.
“Our sport is united behind this bid, and we see the Olympics as a part of cricket’s long-term future. We have more than a billion fans globally and almost 90 percent of them want to see cricket at the Olympics,” ICC chairman Greg Barclay said in a statement.
“Clearly cricket has a strong and passionate fanbase, particularly in South Asia where 92% of our fans come from, whilst 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.”
Barclay also congratulated the organisers of the recently concluded Tokyo Games which were held under the dark shadow of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Firstly on behalf of everyone at the ICC, I would like to congratulate the IOC, Tokyo 2020 and the people of Japan for staging such an incredible Games in such difficult circumstances.
“It truly was fantastic to watch and captured the imagination of the world and we would love for cricket to be a part of future Games.
“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,” he said.
England and Wales Cricket Board Chair Ian Watmore will Chair the ICC Olympic Working Group and he will be joined by the ICC Independent Director Indra Nooyi.
Also part of the Group will be Chair of Zimbabwe Cricket Tavengwa Mukuhlani, ICC Associate Member Director and Vice President of the Asian Cricket Council Mahinda Vallipuram and Chair of USA Cricket Paraag Marathe “who believes the time is ripe for an Olympic bid”.
“USA Cricket is thrilled to be able to support cricket’s bid for inclusion in the Olympics, the timing of which aligns perfectly with our continuing plans to develop the sport in the USA,” Marathe said.
“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 Olympics and help us to achieve our own vision for establishing cricket as a mainstream sport in this country.”