The feeling of triumph, joy and blissfulness that 1.3 billion people experienced when Neeraj Chopra won the Gold Medal for India at the Olympics is still fresh in our minds.
Well, there’s a high chance that Indians can experience the feeling of getting at least one gold in the Olympics again!
Ending a wait of over a century, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that it will bid to include the sport of cricket in the 2028 Olympics to be played in Los Angeles.
For this, the ICC has set up an Olympic Working Group, which will work on including cricket in Olympics 2028.
The ICC has been planning for cricket’s inclusion for a while and has officially announced its plans.
And the bid also has the backing of the world’s richest cricketing board – the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) – whose secretary has also supported the plan.
ICC Chairman Greg Barkley, in a press release, said, “Our sport is united behind this bid. And we see the Olympics as a part of cricket’s long-term future.
We have more than a billion fans globally and almost 90 percent of them want to see cricket at the Olympics.”
Considering that it would be a tempting moment for the cricket fans to witness their heroes competing for an Olympic medal, he further added, “Clearly cricket has a strong and passionate fanbase, particularly in South Asia where 92% of our fans come from, whilst there are also 30 million cricket fans in the USA.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Chairperson will head the ICC’s Olympic Working Group set up.
Other group members include Independent Director of ICC Indra Nooyi, Chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket Tavengwa Mukuhlani, Associate Member Director of ICC and Vice-president of Asian Cricket Council Mahinda Vallipuram and Chairman of United States Cricket Paraag Marathe.
Cricket Match in 1900 Olympics:
The only instance of a cricket match in the Olympics was that in 1900 in Paris.
Initially, to be included in the inaugural Olympics of 1896 in Athens, it was cancelled because of a lack of participants. However, its eventful debut happened four years later.
Britain, France, Netherlands and Belgium agreed to send their cricket team to the Olympics in Paris.
Unfortunately, after their bid to co-host the Olympics was turned down, both Belgium and Netherlands withdrew their cricket team from the Olympics.
As a result, the first and only cricket match in Olympics happened between Britain and France, which the former eventually won.
A Gold for India?
Being a cricketing nation, India has one of the strongest teams in the world right now. And there’s an excellent chance for the Indian Cricket Team – both men and women – to bag gold for India if and when cricket is included in Olympics.
Having a crazy following among the people, having some seriously talented young lads, a proper cricketing structure in place, regular tournaments such as IPL, Ranji Trophy, etc., and having some of the stalwarts of cricket, India has the required potential to make its bid for gold.
However, the BCCI has to ensure that it conducts a proper and thorough talent hunt, provides the best of the training and imbibes the required professionalism into the players, given the likes of resources it has and also the highly competitive nature of the game where there are equally strong teams in the world as well.
Thus, the concentrated push for the inclusion of cricket into the leading international sports events has got a new thrust. It already is a part of the Commonwealth Games coming up in 2022.
Therefore, a concentrated effort and better coordination between the various cricket boards, especially the ECB and the BCCI, who have had their reservations about cricket in the Olympics, is needed to turn the dreams of over a billion people into reality.