The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has officially approved the inclusion of cricket and squash in the 2028 Olympic Games, which will be hosted in Los Angeles, United States. This announcement marks a historic return for cricket to the Olympics, as the sport’s only previous appearance was in Paris in 1900.
Cricket’s Historic Return
In 1900, cricket was one of the 18 sports featured at the Paris Olympics. The competition saw Great Britain emerge as the champion, defeating France in the final. Notably, this final was the only match played, as the Netherlands and Belgium had withdrawn from the competition. Cricket during the 1900 Olympics had some unique characteristics, such as teams consisting of 12 players instead of the standard 11, and matches were spread over two days.
Great Britain’s cricket team was represented by the Devon and Somerset Wanderers, while the French team was primarily composed of British citizens residing in Paris. The historical significance of cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics in 1900 has paved the way for its return to the international sporting stage.
The recommendation to include cricket and squash in the 2028 Olympics was made by the Los Angeles Organizing Committee and subsequently accepted during an executive meeting of the IOC. The meeting was chaired by the IOC President, Thomas Bach.
The Los Angeles Organizing Committee proposed five disciplines for inclusion in the 2028 Olympics, which included softball, flag football, lacrosse, cricket, and squash. This proposal, along with the collective package of new sports, was approved by the IOC executive board.
The approval marks a significant moment in the history of cricket as it prepares to return to the Olympics for the first time in 128 years. The cricket competition in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics will feature the popular Twenty20 (T20) format, making it a modern and accessible version of the sport for a global audience.
Following a review by the Olympic Programme Commission, the IOC Executive Board puts the @LA28 Organising Committee’s additional sports proposal to the IOC Session.
Baseball/softball, cricket (T20), flag football, lacrosse (sixes), and squash are the 5 sports submitted. pic.twitter.com/pL6IOn87Jj
— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) October 13, 2023
The journey to reintroduce cricket to the Olympics was not without its challenges. Timing, logistical considerations, and compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were some of the hurdles that needed to be addressed.
One of the pivotal milestones in this process was the BCCI’s approval to participate in the Olympics. Additionally, the International Cricket Council (ICC) adopted WADA’s anti-doping policies in 2016, aligning with the global standards required for Olympic participation.
The inclusion of women’s cricket, which has seen significant growth and popularity in recent years, has also played a crucial role in securing cricket’s return to the Olympics. The successful inclusion of cricket in major sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games further bolstered its appeal for Olympic competition.
In the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, cricket made a triumphant return. The Commonwealth Games featured women’s cricket, while the Asian Games included both men’s and women’s cricket competitions. In these multi-sport events, the Indian cricket team achieved remarkable success by winning gold medals in both categories, underscoring the sport’s widespread appeal and competitiveness.
The inclusion of cricket and squash in the 2028 Olympics represents a historic moment for both sports and the global sporting community. Cricket’s return to the Olympics after a 128-year hiatus is a testament to the sport’s enduring popularity and its ability to adapt to modern formats. This development opens up new opportunities for cricket to reach a broader and more diverse audience, as the T20 format is set to showcase the sport’s exciting and fast-paced action on the world stage. The successful collaboration between sporting bodies, including the BCCI and the ICC, highlights the collective effort to bring cricket back to the Olympics, ensuring a bright future for the sport within the Olympic movement.