ICC banking on T20 for cricket's inclusion in Olympics

The ICC is seeking cricket's entry at the LA Games and its fate would be decided in a couple of months' time.
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

DURBAN: International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Geoff Allardice on Friday said that they are pushing for the T20 format's inclusion at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

The ICC is seeking cricket's entry at the LA Games and its fate would be decided in a couple of months' time, he stated.

"The Olympics want to stage a format that has its World Championship. Given that, we will be proposing the shortest format for Olympic inclusion -- that would be T20 cricket," said the ICC CEO in a media round table on the sidelines of the Board meeting here.

Thursday marked the launch of the much-anticipated Major League Cricket in the USA with six franchises including four owners from the IPL.

While Kolkata Knight Riders own the Los Angeles side, Mumbai Indians have New York, Delhi Capitals have Seattle Orcas, and the Texas franchise is owned by Chennai Super Kings.

The ICC chief executive said MLC would draw a lot of attention to the sport.

"There are a number of developments in the USA that are helping to raise the awareness of the game. The start of the MLC is one of them, they draw a lot of attention to the sport."

He further said that the Men's T20 World Cup 2024 will be co-hosted by USA Cricket and Cricket West Indies, contrary to speculations that it would move to the UK.

"I can say with finality that the 2024 men's T20 World Cup will be played in the West Indies and the USA."

The men's T20 World Cup next year will continue to raise awareness of the sport.

We are talking to LA Olympics people for the last 18 months to two years, raising them the awareness of cricket.

"We are expecting a decision in the next couple of months. Yes, all promotion of cricket in the USA contributes to raising that awareness," he said.

The last few years have seen the introduction of new formats, including the T10 and the Hundred, but they will not be included as international formats anytime soon.

"At the moment three international formats of the game are helping us and our members to best promote the sport. There is no discouragement for T10 for domestic leagues or local tournaments. As a format, each member can use whichever format of the games they want to promote the game. The T10 has not been raised by any member for ICC to consider it as an International format," Allardice said.

To a question whether the proliferation of franchise leagues would affect the health of international cricket, he replied in the negative.

"You look at the impact of franchise sport. It is helping to promote our sport in a number of territories. It's bringing a lot of content to venues, broadcasters, and fans and it's able to reach a much broader range of people than just international cricket. So the emergence of franchise leagues is one way to promote our sport."

"There has been an increase in activity in that area and one of those discussions is to bring a balance in the calendar, what the international cricket should look like."

"The staging of a domestic league with the top players of that country is a very good way to promote cricket. We have made strides in a number of territories. It is changing the dynamics of the game and a lot of that has been positive," he added.

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The New Indian Express