Rain won’t stop play in Guadalajara

SEVEN sports have applied to be included or re-included in the Olympic programme for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, which will take place in either Istanbul, Madrid or Tokyo.

Baseball and Softball are jointly looking for re-inclusion, having been a full part of the Olympic schedule from 1992 and 1996-2008 respectively.

Karate, Roller Sports, Sport Climbing, Squash, Wakeboarding and Wushu are all hoping to make their Games debut in one form or another as well.

What surprises and saddens me (and I daresay a lot of people around the world) is that the second most played sport on Earth is not on this list or in the Games at all.

Why isn’t Cricket in the Olympics?!

Cricket even has the backing of the International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, who in 2011 said: “We would welcome an application. It’s an important, popular sport and very powerful on television. It’s a sport with great tradition.”

Twenty20 Cricket has shown that many matches can be played in a day and that anybody can win, think the Netherlands vs. England in 2009.

There could easily be a 20 or 24 team men’s tournament and 10 or 12 team women’s tournament during the Games, and if the 2012 Football tournament’s crowds are anything to go by the matches will prove popular on both TV and at the venue itself.

The home of Cricket played its part last summer, hosting Archery.

Lord’s, ‘The Home of Cricket’, played its part last summer hosting the Archery.

Two Team GB Cricket teams would be created especially for the event, and the countries that make up the West Indies would play individually, which could mean a first-ever medal for the likes of:

  • Antigua & Barbuda – who only sent four athletes to London.
  • Dominica – who have sent just two athletes to the last three Games.
  • St. Kitts & Nevis – who have only ever competed in Athletics.
  • St. Lucia – who haven’t won a medal in their five Olympics.
  • St. Vincent & the Grenadines – who haven’t won a medal in their seven Olympics.

The overseas dependencies of: Anguilla, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and Sint Maarten could also compete.

Afghanistan (who have played in the last two Twenty20 World Cups) could also go far in the tournament.

Test Match playing nation Sri Lanka has only won two silver medals at the Olympics, so adding Cricket to the Games would be a huge chance for them to add to their current haul.

Bangladesh, a country of over 160m people sent just five athletes to London and have never won a medal, so imagine the interest their Cricket team(s) would receive back home!

Obviously there are some hurdles that would need to be overcome for Cricket to work in the Olympics.

Questions like:

Should there be an age limit like in the men’s Football tournament?

Well, denying some of the best Cricketers on the planet the chance to win an Olympic gold medal on account of their age does seem harsh. Also, considering only two countries compete for the sport’s biggest prize it is unlike Football which has the worldwide glamour of the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League.

Isn’t there already too much international Cricket being played?

The touring schedule would have to be revised to include the Olympics, which will hopefully mean there will be less O.D.I. matches which in my opinion only mean anything in the World Cup and are just a distraction from a Test series.

Will the host nation ‘get it’?

When London hosted the Olympics last summer even the sports which we don’t play to a high level: Handball, Basketball, Water Polo, Footb…were still a draw for the spectators. Why should Cricket be any different in a country like Russia, Taiwan or Mexico? Failing the host nation, the U.S. and China will hopefully see Cricket as yet another sport they can beat the other at and invest in their own teams and competitions. Who knows, in some years an English Handball team inspired by London 2012 could bump into the Azerbaijani Cricket team at an airport on the way to a major championship. Like the Football tournaments, Cricket would also bring the Games out of the host city and to other parts of the country, thus allowing more people to see an Olympic event.

Does it meet the inclusion criteria?

For a sport to be in the Summer Olympics it must be played in at least 75 countries and on four continents. The International Cricket Council has 106 members and Test Cricket is played in: Europe, Oceania, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, so no worries there hopefully.

But unfortunately the Olympic programme is limited to 28 sports, 300 events and 10,000 athletes give or take. Rio 2016 sees Rugby Sevens make its debut (and the odd-shaped ball’s first Olympic appearance since 1924) and Golf returns after 112 years of Olympic exile, bringing the grand total of sports to 28. This means if Cricket is to be included, another team sport must be removed unless the IOC changes its own rules.

What about the Paralympics?

Start with Blind Cricket then we’ll take it from there. Seriously, how is Blind Cricket not even in the Paralympics?!

So far Cricket has only appeared in the Olympics once, Paris 1900, when Great Britain (Devon & Somerset Wanderers) beat France (French Athletic Club Union, who were mostly British expats) by 158 runs in a twelve-a-side game that was only recognised as part of the Games 12 years later.

Team GB’s 1900 Cricket team: Something tells me the Barmy Army didn’t see them win.

Team GB’s 1900 Cricket team: I think the Barmy Army didn’t see them win.

Cricket was also part of the: 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China and has been included in the South Pacific Games six-times.

I can’t wait to see the outrageously bad Olympic Golf jumpers and trousers, but I still long to hear the sound of willow on leather during the greatest show on Earth.

Teams for a 24 nations Men’s tournament:

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Group E

Group F

HOST

India

Team GB

Pakistan

Sri Lanka

South Africa

Guyana

Jamaica

Trinidad & Tobago

Barbados

New Zealand

Australia

Afghanistan

Republic of Ireland

Netherlands

Kenya

Bangladesh

Zimbabwe

Hong Kong

Bermuda

U.A.E.

Papua New Guinea

Canada

Namibia

Teams for a 12 nations Women’s tournament:

Group A

Group B

Group C

HOST

Team GB

Australia

Trinidad & Tobago

New Zealand

India

Sri Lanka

Jamaica

Pakistan

South Africa

Netherlands

Republic of Ireland

The host city of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympics will be elected on 7 September in Buenos Aires.

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About Alex Crouch 92

I'm a lifelong Formula One fan who also enjoys classic rock/heavy metal music.
This entry was posted in Cricket, ICC, IOC, Olympic Games, Sport and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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