Confirmed – Cricket to return in LA Olympics in 2028

Cricket is set to return to the summer Olympics for the LA Games in 2028, 128 years after the sport made its only appearance. The development was confirmed by LA28 on Monday in a media release where it stated that cricket – along with baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse and squash – had been recommended for “potential inclusion” as new sports to the LA Olympics.

The LA28 statement also confirmed that its recommendation would be “reviewed” and ratified later this week by the IOC at its executive board meeting in Mumbai, between October 12 and 14.

Casey Wasserman, LA28’s chairperson, said that all the five sports recommended were “relevant, innovative and community-based” which could enhance the Olympics movement.

“LA28’s proposed sports ignite the imagination on the field of play and drive culture off it. They’re relevant, innovative and community-based, played in backyards, schoolyards, community centers, stadiums and parks across the U.S. and the globe,” Wasserman said. “They will bring new athletes to the Games, engage diverse fanbases and expand the Games’ presence in digital spaces, further amplifying LA28’s mission to deliver an unparalleled experience.”

ICC chairman Greg Barclay was “delighted” but guarded in his reaction. “We are delighted that LA28 have recommended cricket for inclusion in the Olympics,” Barclay said in a media release. “Whilst this is not the final decision, it is a very significant landmark towards seeing cricket at the Olympics for the first time in more than a century.”

While it didn’t feature in the original list of 28 sports finalised by the IOC last February, cricket’s efforts to be part of the Olympics received a significant boost last July when it was added to a shortlist of nine to be reviewed by the IOC for addition. It was originally vying for a spot alongside baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse, break dancing, karate, kickboxing, squash and motorsport.
During its presentation in front of LA28, the ICC recommended a six-team T20 event for both men and women. The participating teams would comprise the top-six ranked sides in the ICC’s men’s and women’s T20 rankings on a cut-off date. The ICC proposed the T20 format as the best format since both LA28 and the IOC had emphasised that the format should be one in which there is a world championship conducted (which ruled out the T10 format, for example), has a compact duration (which ruled out ODIs) and had significant spectator interest.

It could not be confirmed if the ICC had finalised a tournament structure, which until recently was still under discussions.

A sport that is played by nearly half the world’s population, cricket has featured only once in the global games, 128 years before the proposed event at LA 2028. In Paris 1900, just one game was played where Great Britain pipped hosts France to the gold medal. On that occasion, the game was played over two days and consisted of four innings like a first-class fixture.

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