In an effort to get cricket into the major international sporting events, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has recommended six-team T20 competitions for both men and women to the Los Angeles Olympic Games organising committee (LA28). Amid buzz that cricket may be ignored again at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, ESPNcricinfo has learned that no decision has yet been made and that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make a final decision in October after the LA28 organisers have finalised the list of new sports by March.
These will then be approved at the IOC session in Mumbai, which is likely to happen in or around October this year. The six competing teams would most likely be the top six in the ICC men’s and women’s T20 rankings on a cut-off date, if the plan is approved.
The ICC is presently exploring ideas with the LA28 organisers before deciding on a tournament format, as per ESPNcricinfo. T20 was suggested as the format because LA28 and the IOC had both informed the ICC that the format should be one in which a world championship is held (which would exclude T10, for example), has a brief duration (which excludes ODIs), and has a sizable amount of spectator engagement.
The IOC’s effort to become more cost-effective, which it has outlined as part of its strategic plan named ‘Olympic Agenda 2020+5’, is the primary reason why the ICC recommends six-team events. It has established that minimising inflated team sizes across disciplines, as well as the overall contingents, is the best method to reduce costs. As a result, there will be 10,500 athletes competing in the 2024 Paris Olympics, down from the 11,300 competitors competing in the 2021 Tokyo Games. The 2020+5 strategic plan, which supports numerous high-profile events including LA28, includes cost-saving “opportunities,” and the IOC has highlighted “developing the event-based programme with a main focus on simplifying the venue master plan, and decreasing cost and complexity in each sport.”
Additionally, LA28 informed the ICC that the proposed competition’s magnitude could not be compromised and that only the top athletes should participate. This also influenced the decision to only allow the top-six teams from both the male and female genders to compete in the planned event. The ICC’s working group for the Olympics, led by Greg Barclay (ICC chairman), also comprises Paraag Marathe (former USA Cricket president), Indra Nooyi, and Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary.
Shah’s inclusion, who serves as both the finance and commercial affairs committee’s chair and the BCCI representation on the ICC board, is a calculated move. Given India’s desire to host the Olympics in the forseeable future, the IOC has identified the nation as a major market. And the ICC thinks Shah’s presence might give its negotiations with the IOC for cricket to be featured at the sport’s largest global event a significant and potentially powerful push.