Los Angeles 2028: Loud cheers in cricket fraternity at Olympic 'comeback'

This is a comeback only in name, though, since the first and last time cricket was played at the Olympics was a one-off match in the 1900 Paris Olympic Games

The 2028 Los Angeles Olympics will see both men's and women's T20 teams compete for medals (photo: ICC/ X)
The 2028 Los Angeles Olympics will see both men's and women's T20 teams compete for medals (photo: ICC/ X)

NH Sports Bureau

The die was cast on the eve of the 141st International Olympic Committee (IOC) session itself in Mumbai, but the official announcement of cricket’s comeback to the Olympics fold from Los Angeles 2028 on Monday, 16 October, was greeted with loud cheers from the cricketing community. 

 In a media conference, IOC gave its formal approval for including cricket (T20), baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse (sixes) and squash as new sports in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Two IOC members opposed it and one abstained from voting, according to IOC president Thomas Bach. 

‘’The proposal from the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 (@LA28) to include five new sports in the programme has been accepted by the IOC Session. Baseball/softball, cricket (T20), flag football, lacrosse (sixes) and squash will be in the programme at LA28,’’ tweeted IOC. 

From the International Cricket Council (ICC), the world governing body of the game to the players, the formal announcement was seen as a huge step toward the globalisation of the sport. ‘’The fact that the IOC confirmation of our selection occurred here in Mumbai, during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, is truly the icing on the cake. The innings has just begun, and we can’t wait to see where this incredible journey leads,’’ said ICC chairman Greg Barclay, now in India. 

Much as the announcement is being seen as a re-entry of cricket into the Olympics arena, it is almost a debut for the sport since the 1900 Paris Olympics, where Great Britain beat France in a one-off cricket match, is now more in the realms of Olympics history than anything else. 

Mithali Raj, former India women’s captain and an iconic figure of the sport, said in a statement: ‘’It is so exciting that cricket is now an Olympic sport and will make its return at LA 2028. Players will get a chance to play for the Olympic gold which will be so special.’’ 

Nita Ambani, the first Indian woman IOC member and an instrumental figure in bringing the IOC congress to India after 40 years, echoed similar sentiments. “As an IOC member, a proud Indian and an ardent cricket fan, I am delighted that IOC members have voted to include Cricket as an Olympic Sport in the LA Summer Olympics 2028! 

"Cricket is one of the most loved sports globally, and the second most watched. For 1.4 billion Indians, cricket is not just a sport, it's a religion,” Ambani said. 

She hoped the sport’s appeal around the globe would increase significantly with this announcement. “The inclusion of cricket in the Olympics will create deeper engagement for the Olympic movement in newer geographies. And at the same time, provides a boost to cricket’s growing international popularity.”

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