The International Cricket Council (ICC) has proposed the inclusion of T20 cricket in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games. The proposal suggests a six-team tournament for both men and women, with the participating teams being the top six teams in the ICC's T20 rankings at the cut-off date. The ICC has yet to finalize the tournament structure and is currently in talks with the LA28 organizing committee.
The decision to propose T20 cricket is in line with the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) request for a format that has a world championship, a compact duration, and significant spectator interest. The proposal is also in line with the IOC's strategy to cut costs and become more efficient as outlined in the "Olympic Agenda 2020+5" plan. The plan aims to simplify the venue master plan and reduce cost and complexity in each sport.
The ICC has recommended that both the men's and women's T20 events be restricted to a single venue. Cricket has its own range of complexities in terms of streamlining costs, with squads traveling with teams of support staff, and requiring a certain number of pitches for games along with training pitches for teams to prepare on. The ICC had already seen the advantage of such cost-saving measures at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Cricket is competing with eight other sports - baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse, break dancing, karate, kickboxing, squash, and motorsport - to make the 2028 Olympics. The final decision on the inclusion of new sports in the 2028 Olympics will be made by the IOC in October of this year.
The ICC has been in constant dialogue with both LA28 and the IOC, with an ICC delegation even traveling to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The ICC's chief executive, Geoff Allardice, also met with LA28 officials in Los Angeles in December. The ICC has also set up an Olympics working group headed by Greg Barclay, the ICC chairman, and includes independent director, Indra Nooyi, and former USA Cricket president, Paraag Marathe.
The addition of Jay Shah, the BCCI Secretary, to the ICC's Olympics working group is a strategic move. The ICC believes Shah's involvement could lend an important
and potentially influential push in its negotiations with the IOC for cricket to be included at sport's biggest global event. The working group has updated ICC members with a summary of the discussions it has had with LA28. The inclusion of cricket in the Olympics will give the sport a global platform, and with India as a key market, Shah's involvement could be crucial in bringing cricket to the Olympics.
In summary, the ICC has proposed the inclusion of T20 cricket in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. The proposal suggests a six-team tournament for both men and women, with the participating teams being the top six teams in the ICC's T20 rankings at the cut-off date. The decision is in line with the IOC's request for a format that has a world championship, a compact duration, and significant spectator interest, and will be decided by the IOC in October this year. The ICC has recommended that both the men's and women's T20 events be restricted to a single venue and is in constant dialogue with both LA28 and the IOC to make the inclusion of cricket in the Olympics possible.