History of Cricket in the Olympic games:
The debate as to whether cricket should be part of the Olympics is ongoing. However, cricket has only featured as an Olympic sport once – in the year 1900. Great Britain won gold by beating France.
Since, cricket has not featured in the Olympic games at all. However, recently the International Cricket Council (ICC) has formed an Olympics Committee which has raised hopes for the inclusion of cricket in the Olympic games.
Challenges for Cricket as an Olympic Sport
Cricket undoubtedly is a famous sport with its fan base all around the world. Despite the popular opinion to make cricket part of Olympics, there are several gigantic hurdles that need to be crossed over before cricket can feature as a permanent sport in Olympics.
So, what challenges does cricket pose if it were to qualify as an Olympic sport?
1) Cricket as an Olympic sport – Key Conundrum
T20 is a popular format in the cricketing world. Furthermore, it is the most supported format to be a possible solution to overcome time limitation in Olympics. The supporters of this format want T20 or T10 to be part of every summer Olympics.
However, the T20 World Cup takes place every two years and is a major earning event for the ICC. Hence, if the T20 tournament is to be included in Olympics, then the T20 World Cup needs to be scheduled after every four years.
This would not be a bearable loss for the ICC. Hence, ICC would not be happy with this format inclusion in Olympics. Whereas, the other formats such as test cricket or ODI cricket are not compatible with a fast paced event like Olympics that finishes in 16 days of time.
2) Absence of grounds and preparation Cost
The Olympics is a world event with venues in a specific country hosting the event for that particular biennial year. But, most of those nations hosting the event are not famous for cricket in any sense. For example, till 2028, not a single popular cricket nation is going to host Olympics.
Furthermore, the venues for the rest of the years are yet to be announced. Hence, these venues mostly do not have any cricket ground or only a few (one in South Korea). Hence, the cost associated for constructing new cricket fields is more than its actual return.
Furthermore, even if the ground get constructed, they will remain useless for these countries as most of these nations have minimal interest in cricket.
3) Lack of interest by cricket boards
Accepting to participate in Olympics means to lose a certain amount of autonomy to the constituted national Olympics committee. Such a committee would be talking decisive role in making a schedule.
How about the clash of the IPL with the Olympics event?
Would it be a tolerable loss? Hence, the powerful cricket boards such as the BCCI won’t bow themselves in front of Olympic committee and neither would the Olympic committee. They neither want to put money or their reputation at stake.
4) Popular cricket nations are not solely Olympics members
Cricket teams such as England, the West Indies and Ireland are not Olympic members entirely. England features as Great Britain in Olympics. Similarly, West indies is a constituent of 15 Caribbean territories, with many different nations.
So, it is an intricate problem to cope with. So even if cricket is featured in the Olympics, how would the fate of the gold medal be decided?
5) Lack of interest in the world
As per Wikipedia, there are 104 countries members of ICC. However, only 8 to 10 teams can be termed as that up to a professional level. Hence, there is a lack of interest in the overall member countries as can be termed more of emerging cricket countries.
Furthermore, the International Olympic committee (IOM), the governing body of Olympics, has most of the members who are not part of those 8 to 10 nations. Hence, a gap remains between ICC and IOM.
Which player has supported Cricket Inclusion in Olympics?
The below is the list of the players how have recent supported the inclusion of cricket in Olympics:
- Eoin Morgan has supported the inclusion of T10 format.
- Sangakkara has supported the inclusion of T20 or T10 format.
- Chris Gayle has supported the inclusion of T10 format in Olympics.
- Rahul Dravid has supported Inclusion of T20 format in Olympics.
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There would be market expansion. Big economies like USA, China, Russia and etc. would try to feature as a more prominent team as the game would mature in future Olympic events.
However, as mentioned in the article, there are many obvious and subtle challenges that have to get over if cricket has to become a prominent and a permanent part of world event like Olympics.
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We hope you enjoyed our article on whether cricket as an Olympic sport is a good idea or not.
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