Cricket shortlisted for review by the Olympic committee

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Cricket’s efforts to be part of the Olympics have been given a significant boost after the sport was added to a shortlist of nine that will be judged by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for addition to the 2028 Los Angeles Games .

Last month, LA28’s organizing committee had asked the ICC to plead their case and while an exact date for this presentation has yet to be set, a final decision on cricket’s inclusion is expected in the second quarter of 2023, when the IOC is due to meet in Mumbai.

Cricket will compete for a spot along with eight other sports, including baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse, break dance, karate, kickboxing, squash and motorsport.

In February, the IOC greenlit 28 sports to be part of the LA Games with a focus on youth. At the same meeting, the company pledged to expand the program, and in May it came up with a means to evaluate “potential new sports” and see if they were suitable for the LA28 Games.

While there is no limit to the number of new sports the IOC can add, they must meet this list of inclusion criteria.

The ICC believes it is in a good position, but recognizes that it is ultimately up to the LA committee to decide. Part of his optimism stems from the fact that, in the words of CEO Geoff Allardice, cricket is “a star attraction” at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, currently being held in Birmingham.

“We’ve seen from the Commonwealth Games how much the world’s best players have enjoyed playing in front of big crowds and I’m sure it will be a huge TV audience,” Allardice told ESPNcricinfo.

Both the ICC and ECB had lobbied hard to include cricket in CWG 2022, bearing in mind its popularity in Commonwealth countries. It is the first time in 24 years that cricket is part of the Games. The 1998 edition in Kuala Lumpur featured only men’s cricket (ODI format). In Birmingham, it is only women’s cricket in the T20 format with eight countries competing for the gold.

However, in the Olympics, every sporting discipline must include both male and female athletes and the ICC remains convinced that cricket has enough global appeal and support to be the greatest spectacle in sport.

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