On Monday, cricket made its long-awaited return to the Olympics, and those in charge of organizing it are hopeful it won’t just be a one-time showing at the Los Angeles 2028 Games.
It took two years of persistent marketing to get people interested in a sport with 2.5 billion admirers globally and revered as a religion in the Indian subcontinent, where interest in the Olympics is, at best, tepid.
The announcement was timed to coincide with the 50-over World Cup in India, the game’s financial powerhouse, and Mumbai, the seat of the richest board in the world.
The head of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Greg Barclay, stated: “We are delighted that cricket’s inclusion in the LA28 Olympic Games has been confirmed by the IOC Session today.”
“To have the opportunity to showcase our great sport at the LA28 Games, and hopefully many Olympic Games to come, will be great for players and fans alike.”
Cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics will undoubtedly draw more viewers from South Asia. Still, it will also boost the sport as it looks to expand beyond its current geographic boundaries.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Barclay later told reporters in Mumbai, referring to what he called a “massive day” for the game.
“We’ve got a global sport, which I think is the fastest growing global sport but getting on to the biggest sporting stage in the world, the Olympics is a massive shot in the arm for the game.”
After over a century and one appearance at the 1900 Olympics, cricket is back to the Games with a six-team Twenty20 format for both men and women.
According to Cricket Australia Chief Executive Nick Hockley, the sport’s return to the Olympics sets the stage for its development into a genuinely international sport.
For our sport, which is already among the fastest-growing in the world, this is a game-changer, according to Hockley.
“The Olympic Games will undoubtedly increase the global reach of cricket, inspiring a whole new generation to love and play the game.”
Cricket players would benefit from living in the Olympic village, according to Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar.
“That is fantastic, isn’t it?” Gavaskar stated when commentating on the Australia vs. Sri Lanka World Cup match in Lucknow.
“What an experience it’ll be for every team, and particularly the Indian team, to be able to see what the Olympic Village is like, to be able to spend time with other athletes, other champions.”