Cricket at the Olympics? No-ball!
There is strong support building for cricket’s inclusion in 2020 Olympic Games, but is it the best way to globalise the game?
Ideally, if cricket were to be introduced within the 2020 games schedule, T20 would seemingly be the best fit. The main reason pitched for the inclusion of cricket in the Olympics is that it will globalise the game.
However, should the ICC create a market for cricket in places like the USA and China by playing at the Olympics, or do you first try to make the citizens of those countries more aware of the game so there is then a demand for it at Olympic level?
Perhaps a more realistic approach would be to expand the IPL format, including franchises in places like USA, Japan, China and Europe.
That way, an opportunity is created for an increased audience for cricket on television in those regions while also fast-tracking the development of young homegrown players who could eventually go on to play in a competitive national team.
Some will argue that the cricketing schedule is crammed enough as it is and making space for participation at an Olympics might affect lucrative television deals.
I imagine India would be reluctant to do anything that might interfere with their beloved Indian Premier League.
There’s no doubt Twenty20 is the way to globalise the game, but that cause will not be helped if, as in all likelihood, only the eight major cricket nations qualify to play at the Olympics.
Former Australian cricket captain, Steve Waugh has been a strong supporter of the inclusion of cricket in the Olympic Games, citing, “the incredibly good feeling he experienced while competing in the 1998 Commonwealth Games” but is this reason enough to include cricket in the 2020 Games?
While it’s a great personal memory, the involvement of cricket in the Commonwealth Games did nothing to move the game forward. I suggest if the game were to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games, the impact would be just as minimal.
As early as last month, reports suggested that cricket was to be re-introduced back in to the Commonwealth Games – in the 2018 Commonwealth Games which are to be held on the Gold Coast.
Cricket was played for the only time at a Commonwealth Games in Malaysia in 1998 where South Africa beat Australia in the final of a 50-over event, which featured 16 teams.
It makes sense to be in the Commonwealth Games, but cricket in the Olympic Games won’t happen in this lifetime.
Watch Glenn Mitchell's wrap of the second Test, where Australia were victorious early on the final day, winning by 218 runs and taking a 2-0 series lead into the third Test in Perth.