ICC forging ahead towards inclusion of cricket in 2028 LA Olympics
MCC World Cricket Committee chairman Mike Gatting stated that cricket could be included in the 2028 Olympics Games in Los Angeles.
The MCC, custodian of the sport's laws, released the statement following an intensive discussion on the topic of inclusion of cricket in multi-sports events in a World Cricket Committee (WCC) meeting at Lord's on Sunday and Monday.
Diving in the past, cricket has been a sport at the modern Summer Olympic Games. The lone tournament was played at the 1900 Summer Olympics featuring only a men's contest where Great Britain emerged triumphant. Considering the inclusive agenda of the International Cricket Council (ICC) alongside MCC, the possibility of cricket being contested at the Olympics again has recently resurfaced.
"There is still much to be done if cricket is to be included in the Olympics, with Los Angeles 2028 the earliest likely opportunity, and the ICC continuing to work internally to align cricket to pursue the sport's Olympic ambitions," the WCC said in a statement.
Additionally, Gatting expressed that the confirmation of the incorporation of women's cricket in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games is a revolutionary pronouncement. Noteworthy to mention, this is the first time the sport has been included since Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
Globalization of the sport was another key point addressed in the high-profile conference. The ICC stressed on coveted efforts to prosper the game in the world’s second-biggest economy, China.
"Cricket is also due to return to the Asian Games at Hangzhou 2022, likely again to be in T20 format. Including cricket at Hangzhou 2022 is the perfect opportunity to showcase the sport to the market in China."
Amongst other aspects, the committee also debated upon the treacherous security condition in Sri Lanka, following the 2019 Easter bombings, and also in Pakistan which has endured non-existence of international cricket in the country since the menacing attack on the national team and ICC officials' buses in Lahore a decade ago.
Sri Lanka veteran and committee member Kumar Sangakkara expected the forthcoming tour scheduled by England to accomplish successfully.
"All countries do their independent assessments about security and the level of threat and I feel those questions have been answered very satisfactorily up to now," the legendary wicket-keeper batsman said. "I don't see that changing for the England tour but we will see discussions going ahead. I played cricket at heightened times of trouble in Sri Lanka and we've had those arrangements in place for teams to tour the country."
Emphasizing on the delicate subject of Pakistan, Gatting assured that the working committee was eager to see the resumption of tours to the nation after 10 years. If required, MCC would send in a touring team of its own to facilitate the progression of cricket.
"We had a brief presentation from [PCB managing director] Wasim Khan," Gatting said. "As MCC, I think we can see there's some safety issues that are still there, but I suspect if those can be overcome everybody is happy, [then] I don't see why there's any reason we can't [organise] an MCC tour there, and other teams would have to make their own assessment of how safe it is to play there. One hopes it won't be long before they can convince people it is a lot safer than it was and as soon as that's the case, MCC will look at sending a touring party over."