Is T10 the gateway for cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics?
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world. The majority of the audience and participation comes from the South Asian countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Srilanka.
India is one of the most dominant and strongest teams in the world with the most effective decision makers making up its Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). It is not only the richest board but also the major stability rock for the sport in India and the cricketing world.
Recently, the sport has started gaining popularity in European countries as well such as Germany, France, Turkey and Greece. There has also been an introduction of the European Cricket League which gives a strong statement about its rapid growth.
One of the major drawbacks for the sport in terms of attracting spectatorship and sport investors from markets like China, the US and Europe has been its duration. Test cricket spans over a number of days, 50 overs One Day International format spans over 8 hours but the introduction of T20 (twenty-twenty) cricket helped make the sport a global commercial success and also popular with the major media and marketing brands joining in. With the likes of Indian Premier League, Pakistan Super League, Big Bash and other cricket leagues being organized worldwide.
However, cricket has still struggled to make it to the major sport competitions like the Olympics and Commonwealth Games mainly due to its length and resources needed to host the matches. Interestingly, the development of T10 cricket format seems to be the right edition for its inclusion in the Olympics as a single match only lasts for 90 minutes the same as the duration of a football game.
One of the major obstacles for the sport’s inclusion in Olympics has been the disapproval of the major board in the cricketing world: BCCI. It brings almost 70% of the revenue for International Cricket Council (ICC) for the sport worldwide which is why its lack of support can mean a major stumble block in seeing this through.
Moreover, an online global survey conducted by ICC reported 87% of fans liking the idea of having T20 format cricket in the Olympics. Could this mean that T-10 can further enhance the chances of such a possibility where sport fans who are committed to watching 90-minute sports will be potentially attracted to watch 90 minutes of cricket games as well?
Another important consideration is the resources required to organize cricket games. Giving due consideration to countries with good cricket stadiums when analysing hosts for the event will be a necessary factor. Otherwise, will the hosts be willing to invest a major amount in building cricket stadiums? Or using convertible pitches to save costs can be an answer?
Moreover, the changes to the cricket schedule will be another interesting factor to be resolved. With major cricket leagues like Indian Premier League, Pakistan Super League and now T-10 cricket league (10 overs format) happening in a narrow time frame. The recent inclusion of women’s cricket in the World Commonwealth Games 2022 - the third largest sporting event in the world after the Olympics and the World Cup - can be a turning point for cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics.
This can eventually convince the major influential board in cricket: BCCI to approve the idea. Just within its second edition, T-10 Cricket League has increased in the number of matches from 13 to 29 with two more franchise teams added. Additionally, the participation of star players like Eoin Morgan, Brendon McCullum, Shahid Afridi, Rashid Khan and Chris Gayle among many add to the possibility of attracting not only the current but also the retired players, therefore, this format of the game can be an easy attraction for increased media, sponsors, financial investors and the cricket lovers.
With all such positive factors and only a few obstacles, it seems that it is only a matter of time that cricket will soon see a green light from the International Olympic Committee for the 2028 Olympics.