International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson has indicated that the sports body is pondering whether to apply to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to have cricket as an Olympic sport for the 2024 games.
Cricket has only featured once in the Olympics, all the way back in the 1900 Paris games and while there have been issues with a possible re-inclusion, such as fixture congestion, Richardson has backed the idea as the benefits outweigh the negatives.
"We need to make a decision by July this year so we can make an application in time for September, when, as I understand it, the IOC will consider new sports for 2024," he said, as quoted on ESPN. "I think the majority of the members - and certainly myself - think the time is right and we've come to the conclusion that the overall benefit to the game in terms of globalising and growing it, outweigh any negatives, so I'm hoping."
The host city for the 2024 Olympic games is yet to be confirmed, however, Los Angeles and Paris are the current candidates with Richardson having a preference for the US for maximum exposure.
"T20 is the ideal format and we'd say even better than rugby sevens as it's actually one of the mainstream formats of cricket," he added. "Neither LA or Paris would be a disaster for us, in fact both would be opportunistic, especially the US option."
The IOC however, have decreed that only the best international players must be involved if cricket is to be included as an Olympic sport. While that should be no problem, Richardson still acknowledges that fixture congestion could be an issue, especially for England and Australia's Ashes series.
"From an ICC perspective, the fixture calendar is the most challenging part of it," Richardson explained. "In the northern hemisphere, the Olympics are held in the English summer, so that's a problem for them if they've got an Ashes series on. So there will be issues and England in the past have said 'are we sure we want to go down this route?'"
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