Cricket proposed for Olympic Games return in 2028
Australia's women won gold in the Commonwealth Games, now they and the men will hunt Olympic gold. Photo: AAP
Cricket is set to make an Olympic comeback after 128 years in the five-ringed wilderness.
The sport has been proposed for inclusion at the 2028 Los Angeles Games, which if accepted would make it a shoo-in for Brisbane 2032.
Other sports on the list are flag football – a smaller, non-violent version of gridiron, lacrosse, squash, baseball and softball — the latter two have featured at several Olympics but will not be played next year in Paris.
Out is breakdancing, which will be a one-and-done after its debut in Paris next year. Others not making the cut include motorsports, kickboxing and karate.
Cricket was a success at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, though it was only played by women’s teams, with Australia winning.
The format was T20 as is set to be the case at the Olympics with both genders participating. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been pushing the sport’s case for inclusion and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) appears to have been convinced by the prospect of engaging with the lucrative Indian television market.
ICC chairman Greg Barclay was cautiously optimistic, two years on from the governing body announcing it would bid to have the sport included at the Olympics.
“We are delighted that LA28 have recommended cricket for inclusion in the Olympics,” he said. “Whilst this is not the final decision, it is a very significant landmark towards seeing cricket at the Olympics for the first time in more than a century.”
The proposal is expected to be approved by the IOC at the end of this week. The 141st IOC session is co-incidentally in the Indian city of Mumbai, where they can see the impact of the Cricket World Cup at close hand.
LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said: “The proposed sports ignite the imagination on the field of play and drive culture off it.
“They’re relevant, innovative and community-based, played in backyards, schoolyards, community centres, stadiums and parks across the US and the globe.”
Cricket was played once before at the Olympics — in Paris in 1900. Due to withdrawals it consisted of one two-innings match in which Great Britain beat France by 158 runs. Each side had 12 players, all but two of whom never played first-class cricket, and most of the French team were English expatriates.
With five team sports pushing numbers up significantly other sports in 2028 may have to trim the number of disciplines to help the IOC adhere to their limit of 10,500 athletes at a Summer Olympics.