MALAYSIA might yet benefit from an added sport to the Olympics, if things go well.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) have said that they intend to bid for the sport’s inclusion in the Olympic Games and that a working group has been set up to lead the bid, which will focus on cricket becoming part of the Olympic family for Los Angeles 2028, Brisbane 2032 and beyond.
ICC chairman Greg Barclay, in the wake of the Tokyo Games 2020, said: “It truly was fantastic to watch and it captured the imagina-tion of the world. We would love for cricket to be a part of future Games.”
To this end, Cricket Malaysia said they were fully behind the initiative and would do what they could to help the bid.
“Yes, we totally support this,” said the association’s president Mohammed Iqbal Ali Kassim Ali. “Cricket in Malaysia will benefit from such an initiative and as a result, stands a chance to be categorised as a podium sport.
“This will make cricket a major sport in Malaysia, in line with our vision.”
Commenting on what were realistic chances of cricket becoming an Olympic sport in 2028, Barclay said: “Our sport is fully united behind this bid.
“We have more than a billion fans globally and almost 90% of them want to see cricket at the Olympics.
“We have a strong and passionate fan base, of which 92% of the fans are from South Asia and 30 million are in the United States.
“The timing is perfect as the 2028 Olympics will be held in Los Angeles.
“With so many passionate cricket fans and players already in the US and a huge global audience and following for the sport around the world, we believe that cricket’s inclusion will add great value to the 2028 Games.”
The cricket supremo added: “We believe cricket will be a great addition to the Olympic Games, but we know it won’t be easy to secure our inclusion as there are so many great sports out there wanting to do the same.
“But we feel now is the time to move forward and show what a great partnership cricket and the Olympics can be.”
England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Ian Watmore will lead the ICC Olympic Working Group and will be joined by ICC independent director Indra Nooyi, Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani, ICC associate member director and vice-president of the Asian Cricket Council Mahinda Vallipuram of Malaysia and USA Cricket chairman Paraag Marathe.
Commenting on the working group, Marathe said: “USA Cricket is thrilled to be able to support cricket’s bid for inclusion in the Olympics.
“The timing aligns perfectly with our continuing plans to develop the sport in the USA.”