Cricket is a world famous sport, there’s no denying that. But there’s also another meaning for ‘world’ in this context. We’ve seen the Olympics being held time and again but for some reason, Cricket just hasn’t made its debut in the grandest stage of them all. With almost every country competing for Gold, it seems incomprehensible to not include Cricket to the list. Here’s 10 reasons Cricket should be a part of the Olympics right away, addressing why it wasn’t in the first place:
10. Myth: ‘Cricket is a Game, not a Sport’
It’s always been said that Cricket is not a sport, it’s only a game. And I would have agreed with this statement a decade or so ago. But with the advent of T20 and the 6 over competitions, the game has become more taxing and gruelling than ever. Granted that test cricket is still the epitome of endurance but in that respect, the shorter forms of the game are even more nerve wrecking and strenuous on the bodies than most other Olympic sports. I think the rumour should be buried and Cricket should officially be called a sport, not a game.
9. Duration of the Matches
The Olympics lasts about 3 weeks. And it’s understandable to wonder how the Olympics could fit cricket into its already tight schedule. But that’s a major concern for us too. Cricket takes too long to watch. It’s sort of like baseball in that respect, only much more exciting. Certainly, a 50-50 game would not hold in the Olympics. I doubt even a T20 would. So there’d be a new format of cricket, a shorter one, which will have to be invented for the Olympics, and that opens up a wide range of possibilities for the sport.
8. A Chance for the Youth
In a bid to shine the spotlight on the youth, certain sports have set rules which prevents overage players from competing in them. The same applies to cricket, only it’s lasted for over a decade now. The different forms are cricket are the U15, U19 and U21. They aim to give younger players a chance at international stardom and so Cricket would fit right into the scheme of things in The Olympics.
7. Promoting Women’s Cricket
Cricket has the largest women’s fan following in the world. In fact, it is also one of the most popularly played sports by women. But Women’s Cricket hasn’t gotten the publicity that it deserves. Why can’t the women’s version of cricket be just as grand and magnificent as the men’s version of it? The Olympics could easily address this issue and give women a chance to show off their skills in what is still perceived as a men’s game.
6. Cricket Needs a Stadium
In fairness, this is a foreseeable problem. But it’s not just cricket. Football needs a stadium as well, and Tennis needs multiple courts on which it has to be played. So in terms of landmass required, Cricket isn’t a domineering force. If all the other sports are able to squeeze in, I’m sure that the committee can find a way to construct a Cricket ground and maintain in, even if it’s just for a month or so. Plus these grounds can later be used to play other sports. So it doesn’t have to be too much of a worry.
5. One of the Largest Audiences
It’s amazing how many fans cricket has. At over 2.5 billion followers, Cricket is the second most popular sport played today. Most of the 2.5 billion can be traced back to India, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t popular elsewhere. England, Australia and Africa are the more renowned Cricketing Nations where Cricket is closely watched. Just by pure numbers alone, Cricket is a phenomenon that has to be incorporated in The Olympics.
4. Uniting the World
One of the reasons Cricket is only the second most popular sport is because of its reach. Cricket isn’t popular or even known to be a sport in most of Europe and America. Football was a stranger to America a few years ago but now they’ve a dedicated fan following for that too. So why not Cricket? The Olympics is about uniting the world with sports. So it only seems fair that Cricket should get its due diligence.
Let’s face it; money is important. And with viewership comes money. With over 2.5 billion fans worldwide, Cricket would bring in a much larger viewership to the Olympics. As it stands, almost a billion people (at a time) followed the Olympics worldwide. But that pales in comparison to the 2.5 billion Cricket has to offer. Taking into consideration the overlap, almost a billion more viewers could be brought into the Olympics. Now that’s a fine reason, wouldn’t you say?
2. Reduce the Cricketing Traffic
Cricket has so many unique, individual tournaments that it seems impossible to keep track of them at the same time. Besides the domestic competitions in each country, there’s the T20 Internationals, The Champions Trophy, The ICC World Cup, the inter-country rivalries…it’s just too much on the players and on the viewers. In spite of the high viewership, people are slowly getting sick of so much Cricket. That’s why we need to cut down on these smaller tournaments and focus on something bigger, The Olympics. It’ll give players an opportunity to rest while also attracting a much larger audience.
1. A Matter of Pride
If there’s any feeling that The Olympics can instil, it’s the feeling of pride. The players compete with their heart and soul for a chance to win Gold and make their country proud. It’s a chance for the countries to display their talent and get recognition in a flamboyant manner. And these are small privileges being stolen from Cricketers and their Nations. One thing we can deduce from the T20s and the IPL matches is that players really do give their entirety to playing the game and winning. And that feeling will only be amplified several times over if it’s a chance to win Gold for your own country. That’s why the ICC World Cup has the largest audience viewership in the World and that’s why cricketers should be given a chance to compete in the Olympics.