Cricket is poised to return to the Olympics in five years’ time – more than a century since the sport was last included.
It joins baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse and squash as the five additional sports being endorsed by the organisers of the Los Angeles Games.
There has only been one cricket match played at an Olympics, when Great Britain defeated hosts France in a low-scoring Test to win gold at the 1900 Paris games.
But Los Angeles 2028 will see a men’s and women’s T20 tournament.
LA28, the organisers of the 2028 games, said in a statement its proposal will be “reviewed” by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board for “ratification” at the 141st IOC session in Mumbai next Tuesday.
It’s only two years since cricket’s world governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to bid for a slot at the Olympics.
A “delighted” ICC chairman Greg Barclay nonetheless struck a note of caution, warning that it wasn’t a “final decision”.
But he called it “a very significant landmark towards seeing cricket at the Olympics for the first time in more than a century”.
Under ICC rules, each team must complete its allocated 20 overs in an hour and 25 minutes, separated by a 20-minute break.
Matches are completed in a little over three hours, making it the natural choice for the Olympics, rather than one day internationals, which take around eight hours and Test matches which last five days.
T10, where teams have half the overs, was not considered because there is no T10 world cup.
The success of women’s cricket in recent years has also been a driving factor after it featured in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said the five proposed sports “ignite the imagination” and are “relevant, innovative and community-based, played in backyards, schoolyards, community centres, stadiums and parks across the US and the globe”.
“They will bring new athletes to the Games, engage diverse fanbases and expand the Games’ presence in digital spaces.”
Squash, meanwhile, is set for its inaugural appearance at an Olympics, having missed out a number of times, as is flag football – a non-contact alternative to American football.
Baseball/softball was dropped from Paris 2024 having been selected for Tokyo 2020, with host cities able to submit sports they want adding to the schedule.
Lacrosse, a contact team sport, has been on the Olympic programme on five occasions but not since 1948.