The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed its intention to bid for the sport’s inclusion in the Olympic Games.
The ICC, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said a working group had convened to lead the bid on behalf of the sport. The focus is on cricket becoming part of the Olympics for Los Angeles 2028, Brisbane 2032 and all editions after that.
England and Wales Cricket Board Chair Ian Watmore will Chair the ICC Olympic Working Group. He will be joined by ICC Independent Director Indra Nooyi, 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.
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ICC Chair Greg Barclay congratulated the organizing committee of Tokyo 2020 and said they would like to see cricket a part of the Olympics. In a statement issued by the ICC, he said:
“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 capture the imagination of the world and we would love for cricket to be a part of future Games.”
“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.”
The chair said a huge fan base seeing their heroes competing for an Olympic medal is something to watch out for. He added:
“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 tantalizing.”
“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.”
Chair of US Cricket Pararag Marathe believes the time is ripe for an Olympic bid. He said:
“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.”
He believes the 2028 LA Games will fare better with cricket as a part of it. 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 2028 Olympic Games and help us to achieve our own vision for establishing cricket as a mainstream sport in this country.”
Also read: 3 Reasons Why Cricket Should Be Included in the Olympics