ICC continues to push for cricket's inclusion at Olympics
The International Cricket Committee (ICC) is continuously working towards pushing for cricket's inclusion at the Olympics. In 2018, the ICC had conducted a survey where 87% of the fans had voted in favor of cricket's return to the global sporting event. The ICC recently has asked its member nations to analyze the financial benefits if cricket's inclusion is successful. Here are further details.
ICC has sent a questionnaire to all the member nations
According to a report in ESPN Cricinfo, ICC has sent a questionnaire to all the member nations asking them to quantify the "potential financial support" they could be receiving from their governments and Olympic organization if cricket is included at the Olympics. Members have also been asked to analyze the financial support they could manage if cricket is included on one-off basis or permanently.
Cricket hasn't been a part of Olympics since 1900
Cricket is considered to be the third most popular sport in the world behind football and basketball with a worldwide following of over one billion. However, it has not been a part of the Olympics since 1900. The sport's sole appearance came at the 1900 Paris Olympics where Great Britain defeated France by 158 runs in the only match played at the showpiece event.
Members would benefit immensely if cricket is included
The governing cricket body took a similar exercise a couple of years ago. But now the decision to revisit the issue again would appear to suggest growing support for involvement. The major boost it would provide is of financial assistance for the members. Most governing bodies could expect increased funding from their respective governments and other public organizations if Olympic status was confirmed.
Forms need to be returned by November 2
The report adds that forms need to be returned by November 2 with the results set to be discussed at the next ICC board meetings later in the month. The ICC has yet to agree a future tours programme (FTP) beyond 2023.
What about the Big Three teams?
The 'Big Three' nations including India, England and Australia could have their reservations. They could lose rather than gain with cricket's Olympic involvement. The three nations had previously argued that the requisite window in the schedule would eat into their bilateral series plans. This has seen them resisting the call from other Full Member nations for the scheduling of more global events.
U-23 cricket can be included: Our take
Given that several member associations would benefit from cricket's inclusion, one could have the U-23 team participating rather than the senior side. This would also benefit the 'Big Three' in terms of their reservations being addressed. Moreover, a T20 format could be the way forward.