Despite being the second most popular sport in the world, Cricket is not an Olympic Sport. Due to various reasons, the game has been excluded from the Olympics.
The game's exclusion in the early days was perhaps due to its large match length. Because, back then, Test cricket used to be "The Cricket," and there is no way for a sport in which a match requires 5 days to finish can be included in a 15-20 days Olympics. Or that was due to the too few participant nations, as most of the teams that played cricket were British colonies, and even outside the British colony, British expatriates used to play it.
When Olympics was included in the 1896 Olympics, only the game could not happen due to insufficient entries. And In 1900, only two teams were competing, France and Great Britain.
With time the game evolved, One Dayers and Twenty Twenty Internationals came forward. Due to various reasons, however, the game hasn't been included.
However, things seem to be changing soon as the International Cricket Council has said it is working for the inclusion of Cricket in the Los Angeles Olympics of 2028. According to ICC, there are 30 million cricket fans in the US and the number seems to be growing.
It is quite surprising that Cricket, which is the sport of the commonwealth, hasn't even been in the Commonwealth games. That will be changing at the 2022's Commonwealth games, which will pave the way for its inclusion in the 2028 Olympics.
ICC Chair Greg Barclay said the addition of cricket to the Olympic Games would be beneficial to both the sport and the Games themselves.
“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,” Barclay said.
“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.
Barclay 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 are.”
However, how will things play out at the Olympics will be quite interesting. The team Ireland in cricket represents all of Ireland while Northern Ireland still plays at the Olympics under Great Britain. The same goes for English and Scottish teams. Also, the nations of the West Indies have a single cricket team, while they play as different countries in the Olympics. These things are, however, secondary, cricket's inclusion will mean a lot for the sport and the Olympics.
The ICC Olympic Working Group will be chaired by England and Wales Cricket Board Chair Ian Watmore. 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 Parag Marathe.
Marathe believes the time is now for cricket to make its long-awaited return to the Olympics, confident the sport's inclusion at the showpiece event would accelerate the growth of the game in the USA.
“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 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.”