The International Cricket Council (ICC) hopes that the cricket featured at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 will give impetus to the game’s ambition to also be part of the Olympics.
The 2022 edition will see cricket return after 24 years in the CWG. This last happened in 1998, when the 50+ men’s tournament was held, with 16 nations participating. Additionally, the matches had List-A status. This year, the eight-team event will hold international T20 status, approved by the apex board.
ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice said the players were very excited by the presence of top athletes from other sports. He added that the board had been proactive in providing all the information for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. However, he also updates that the decision to include the game will be made in 2023.
“The idea of being here in Birmingham for the annual [ICC] conference is to celebrate cricket’s involvement in the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 24 years [when a men’s 50-over event was held, in Kuala Lumpur] with the Women’s T20 event,” Allardice said. “Judging by the reaction of the players, they are all very excited and enjoying the experience of being surrounded by the best athletes from other sports.
“We have declared our ambition to be involved in the Olympic Games. We are assisting the LA 2028 organizers and providing any information that will help their assessment of the various sports with regards to adding to the Olympic program. But, at this stage, a decision is expected next year.
Can participating in multi-sport events expand the reach of cricket?
Allardice believes the inclusion of cricket in multi-sport events can enhance the growth of the game. He also adds that coverage of matches as well as other sports can be much more accessible to people, who are not traditional cricket viewers. .
“And that’s one of the opportunities with the Commonwealth Games, that we can reach new audiences. I’m sure you’ve seen over the last five years or so, the quality of our women’s events is exceptional. Players are great ambassadors for our sport,” Allardice said.
“We have heard a number of [women’s team] captains last night at a roundtable, and they are very excited and I’m sure cricket is a star attraction at the Commonwealth Games, which can only put us in a good position as we pursue ambitions to move forward in all other kinds of multi-sports games,” he added.
A total of 16 matches will be played between July 29 and August 7. In the first match, India will face Australia.