Cricket should be in the Olympics games, that much is obvious. It is a sport that is played competitively across the globe, much more than people realise when you look at the number of world cricket league divisions there are, with 95 international teams.
The sport has actually been played at the Olympics before in 1900. The one-off match between the French and Great British ex-pats, finishing with a British gold medal. That was a two-day game, but with the arrival of T20 cricket and night matches, the tournament has the pace to be completed inside the two-week period of the games.
Despite it not being picked for Rio 2016, it must come soon. T20 provides tight finishes, individual brilliance, team spirit and passionate fans. It is the perfect summer game and a must at the Olympics.
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So what if cricket’s dream comes true? Who would make up the teams?
I would like to run out an idea that it should be chosen in the Olympic spirit and only amateur players could compete. Meaning that International, county and semi-professional players, would not be eligible.
The top amateur leagues across the main cricketing nations (meaning the Premier leagues in England and Grade cricket in Australia) would pick their top four or five representatives for the league and they would go to a trial and a squad would be picked to compete at the Olympics. The decision for who would represent the league could come from the players, umpires and potential Olympic scouts.
This could revolutionise the game at the heart of cricket, the grassroots level, and would certainly increase participation in the sport, a lift that is much needed in the game as levels of participation decrease, the ECB’s latest survey saying that there was a 7% drop in players from 2013 to 2014.
It could also hand local clubs more money, as some semi-pros could reject their wages in order to look for a place in the Olympic side, then more money could be put towards facilities and ultimately standards would improve.
The decision would also increase its worldwide appeal. If associate nations were allowed to produce full strength sides, it would make contests very interesting.
The associate nation’s big game experience and quality could mean the gold medal would be a possibility despite playing nations where cricket is more popular.
Imagine Afghanistan winning a first gold medal, something to cheer for a war-torn nation, or Hong Kong, recent opponents to England, winning their second gold medal in their lifetime.
It would definitely give them a much needed chance, as the USA, Russia, China, and, to some extent Great Britain, sweep up the majority of the medals at the Olympics every four years.
All amateur cricketers wish they could represent their nation, why can’t we let them for the good of the game and the Olympics?
Should cricket be a part of the Olympics? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below