International unity pushing cricket ever closer to the Olympics

Cricket in the Olympics

Ollie Phillips

Cricket's inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games is beginning to look like far more than a pipe dream. Paraag Marthe, the head of Cricket USA, has said that the unprecedented international unity around the idea is rendering it increasingly hopeful, as per The Times. 106 ICC member nations are behind the concept for the first time, and the 30 million fans of the sport in the US is a growing resource to be tapped.

India's supposed endorsement of the project is a huge boost for the campaign, as any attempt to include cricket without its most influential participant would surely have been in vain. It is still uncertain as to which format will be used, but T20 is looking the most likely, due to its alignment with many American sports, lasting three hours, and the relative penetrability of its rules thanks to the popularity of the IPL.

The only issue at the moment is its taking place in the middle of the 2028 English summer, but Marthe suggested that the opportunity to raise the game's profile on the biggest possible commercial stage will outweigh the potential negatives of missing out on the UK's traditional calendar.

The US is also set to launch a new competition to grow cricket in the States next year. The inaugural Major League Cricket season was due to take place last year, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been planned as a six-venue T20 league, and will seek to attract some of the world's best players thanks to the significant investment it has already gained.

The outlook for cricket's future growth, then, looks to be a positive one. Considering the LA Olympics is being branded the "Commercial Games", it would seem a strange decision not to include the second biggest sport in the world. This represents a fantastic opportunity for both parties to take advantage of and expand the sport's already vast fanbase of over a billion.