A true Cricket fan who watches every single ball being bowled even in a test match, would always have this question in mind. Why Cricket is not a part of such a major world sporting event like Olympics while Football, Hockey, Basketball and other team sports are.
Well, why Football is a part of it can be understood that its the world’s most popular sports and played in more than 200 countries and dependencies, covering all of the Earth. But, according to the statistics (as shown below), Cricket is the second best with 2.5 billion estimated fans all over the world which accounts to 35% of the Earth’s population. Now, that is a huge number!
Some of you who argue that Cricket is played only in a few nations should get their facts right. International Cricket Council (ICC) recognizes more than 100 countries that play cricket. ICC has 10 Full Members, 38 Associate Members and 59 Affiliate Members. That adds up to 107 countries. Then why Cricket is still not a part of Olympics?
A reason for it may be the arrangements. Arranging cricket games are a logistic hassle. Cricket grounds need to be specifically made; you can’t hold any other sport in a cricket venue–at least not until the whole tournament is over. But, we have seen Cricket All Stars series being played in a Baseball stadium in the U.S., so this reason is debatable.
Based on a survey conducted in 2008, 90% of the ICC’s members supported the idea of including T20 Cricket in Olympics. But this was not confirmed because of the report which stated that having an additional T20 event could also harm the cricketing ecosystem at a time when the ICC has been striving hard to maintain a balance between three formats of the game. There is already a trend emerging of more T20 matches being scheduled in a year which is fading away the viewership of Test and 50-overs Cricket. And an Olympic competition could inspire a similar increase in the number of T20 international matches.
However, ICC attempted to have T20 cricket included for this year’s Rio Olympics but Rugby and Golf were favoured in the round of voting. The ICC will try again.
All of you should also know that a cricket tournament was played as part of the Summer Olympics which took place on 19–20 August, 1900 at the Vélodrome de Vincennes. The only match of the tournament was played between teams representing Great Britain and France, and was won by 158 runs by Great Britain.
Imagine what impact the scene of Virat Kohli or M.S.Dhoni holding an Olympics Gold Medal could have left over our minds.