Commonwealth Games: T20 cricket proposed as core sport; athletics, swimming compulsory

T20 cricket has been included as a core sport from the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
T20 cricket has been included as a core sport from the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
Hari Kishore M

The 2026 edition of the Commonwealth Games will herald a new era in the history of the Games, with athletics and swimming being the only compulsory sports. Meanwhile, cricket and basketball feature in a 'core list' for the prestigious Games.

The move to have only two compulsory sports is part of a "strategic roadmap" which allows host cities greater freedom to include disciplines of their choice from a core list which also features cricket and basketball.

The roadmap was approved at the Commonwealth Games Federation's (CGF) General Assembly, held virtually.

Cricket T20 will make its Commonwealth Games debut at #B2022. @TheShafaliVerma and @WeAreTeamIndia are ready. Are you?Apply for your tickets now:

Coupled with a strong proposition for prospective hosts, the roadmap will allow a more sustainable long-term agenda, with increased awareness of how sport and culture can positively impact communities.

Read: India plans to bid to host 2036 Olympics and Paralympics

The new additions to the core disciplines that have previously been listed as optional sports are T20 cricket, beach volleyball and 3x3 basketball. Other disciplines in the 15-strong core list include badminton, shooting, table tennis, freestyle wrestling and hockey, among others.

Cricket in Commonwealth Games

Team India cricket skipper Virat Kohli in action during England v India
Team India cricket skipper Virat Kohli in action during England v India

Cricket was last played at the Commonwealth Games in 1998 in which South Africa won the gold medal. Second string teams and under-prepared pitches were the talk of the town during the 1998 edition.

However, the 2022 Birmingham edition will feature a T20 version of cricket with eight women’s teams set to compete. In the 2022 edition, shooting has been dropped.

The Indian women’s cricket team have qualified for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, joining hosts England, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa.

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The CGF recommended that approximately 15 sports be featured at the Commonwealth Games.

CGF President Dame Louise Martin, in a statement, said there was a need for the Commonwealth Games to be innovative, adaptive and modernized to be relevant. She said:

"Our Games need to adapt, evolve and modernize to ensure we continue to maintain our relevance and prestige across the Commonwealth. Our next step is to work closely with our International Federation partners to ensure they can contribute to the vision and direction of the roadmap in order to underpin the future of the Games.”

Also read: Why is cricket not there in the Olympics? Tracing the journey of India's favorite sport in multisport Games

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Edited by Parimal


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