LA 2028 Olympics | Cricket Today

In a historic move, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has given the green light for the inclusion of cricket in the upcoming 2028 Olympics, set to be held in Los Angeles. This decision marks a significant milestone for the sport, which has been contending for a place in the Olympic games for several years. The inclusion is expected to boost the sport’s global appeal and bring in a new audience to the Olympic games.

History of Cricket’s Olympic Journey

Cricket, despite being one of the world’s most popular sports, has had a rocky relationship with the Olympics. The sport made its only Olympic appearance in 1900, where only the Great Britain cricket team and France cricket team competed, with the former taking home the gold.

Efforts for Re-inclusion

Over the years, there have been numerous efforts by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other stakeholders to reintroduce cricket to the Olympics. The primary challenge has been aligning the busy international cricket calendar with the Olympic schedule. However, with the growing appeal of the shorter formats like T20, the dream of seeing cricket in the Olympics started to seem more feasible.

What This Means for Cricket

The inclusion of cricket in the LA 2028 Olympics is expected to have a profound impact on the sport, with some of these reasons being as follows:

Global Exposure

Cricket, predominantly popular in countries of the Commonwealth, will now have a chance to showcase its thrill and excitement to a global audience. This is an opportunity for the sport to expand its fan base and attract new followers from regions where cricket is relatively unknown.

Boost for Women’s Cricket

While men’s cricket enjoys significant popularity, women’s cricket is still finding its feet in terms of global viewership. The Olympic platform will provide an unparalleled opportunity for women cricketers to showcase their talent and bring more attention to the women’s game.

Economic Implications

With global exposure comes significant economic opportunities. Sponsorships, broadcasting rights, and merchandise sales related to the Olympic games are expected to provide a financial boost to the sport.

Format and Participating Teams

The exact format and the number of international cricket teams that will participate in the LA 2028 Olympics are yet to be decided. However, given the limited duration of the Olympic games, a shorter format like T20 is expected to be chosen.

Potential Challenges

While the inclusion is a cause for celebration, it also brings forth several challenges. Aligning the international cricket calendar with the Olympic games and ensuring the participation of top players will be crucial for the event’s success.

Reactions from the Cricketing World

The decision has been met with widespread approval from the cricketing community. Several former and current players took to social media to express their excitement and approval of the move.

Sachin Tendulkar, former Indian national cricket team player, had this to say on X  ‘After a wait of more than a century, our beloved sport is back on the Olympic stage at LA28. This marks the dawn of a new era for cricket as it will be a golden opportunity to foster inclusivity and showcase new talent from emerging cricketing nations. A start of something truly special!’.

The Road to LA 2028

Cricket’s journey back to the Olympics has been a long and winding one. The sport’s return for the first time since 1900 has been solidified after the International Olympic Committee members cast their votes in favour of including cricket in the 2028 Games. This decision was met with overwhelming approval, with only two delegates at the IOC session in Mumbai opposing the inclusion of the new sports.

The Proposed Format

The organisers for the LA Games have suggested a six-team event. While the exact number of teams and the qualification process is still under discussion, there is an expectation for both a T20 men’s and women’s tournament. This format, given its shorter duration and high entertainment value, is likely to resonate well with the Olympic audience.

A Unique LA Games

IOC president, Thomas Bach, emphasised that the sports selected for the LA 2028 Olympics will make the event “unique”. He stated, “The choice of these five new sports is in line with the American sports culture and will showcase iconic American sports to the world, while bringing international sports to the United States.”

Niccolo Campriani, the sports director of Olympic and Paralympic Games 2028, expressed his excitement about welcoming cricket, the world’s second most popular sport, to the Olympics. He highlighted that the selection of cricket’s shorter format was “the ultimate win-win-win”.

Other Sports Making Their Mark

Cricket isn’t the only sport making its debut or return in the LA 2028 Olympics. Flag football, a non-contact version of American football, will be introduced for the first time. Squash, a sport known for its dynamism and demands, will also be featured. Lacrosse will be included for the sixth time in a summer Olympics, but this will be its first appearance as a medal sport since the 1908 Games in London. The format chosen for lacrosse is “Sixes”, a new fast-paced discipline.

Baseball and softball, popular sports in the US, will also be part of the LA 2028 Olympics. Baseball was first introduced in the 1992 Barcelona Games and was part of the 2020 Tokyo schedule. Softball made its debut in the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Is Cricket In The Olympics 2024?

No, cricket will not feature in the 2024 Olympics. Cricket has seen an absence from the Olympics because of its limited popularity. While cricket today boasts a vast fanbase, its popularity is concentrated in a few countries. 

Only 12 countries currently have Test status, with the likes of the England cricket team, India cricket team, and Australia cricket team playing frequent matches.

Cricket matches, especially the Test format, can be lengthy. Even the shortest format, T20, requires around 4 hours. The limited duration of the Olympic Games makes it challenging to accommodate cricket.

The cost of hosting cricket matches is relatively high, especially when the host nation isn’t traditionally involved in the sport. The need for specific technology and infrastructure can pose challenges.

Often, the Olympic host nations are not cricket-playing countries. For instance, the 2024 Olympics are scheduled to be held in Paris, France, a nation not known for its cricketing prowess.

Given the factors mentioned above and the location of the 2024 Olympics, cricket will not be a part of the Paris Olympic Games. France, primarily known for its football achievements, lacks the necessary infrastructure and interest in cricket. This absence further solidifies the sport’s prolonged hiatus from the Olympic arena.

Looking Ahead to 2028

While cricket won’t grace the fields of Paris in 2024, it will make its return in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Efforts have been underway by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to reintroduce the sport in the 2028 Games. The focus is likely to be on the T20 format, given its shorter duration and global appeal.

In conclusion, while cricket enthusiasts will have to wait a bit longer to see their favourite sport in the Olympics, 2028 will be a rewarding year for cricket enthusiasts. The inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics marks a new chapter in cricket’s global journey.