The inclusion of cricket in the Olympics could see the sport explode like Rugby 7s and be played by countries like Russia and China according to Australian star Ellyse Perry who called the news an “amazing” moment for the sport.
The biggest and most crucial step for cricket’s re-inclusion in the Games after 128 years was taken after it was confirmed as one of five sports officially proposed by the organising committee for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.
Cricket’s cause had heavy backing from the International Olympic Committee but needed support from those in charge of the Games who wanted approval to include flag football for the first time to give cricket the tick.
That tick was given along with lacrosse, squash, baseball and softball, with breakdancing to be dumped after a one-off appearance in Paris next year.
Cricket’s inclusion for the first time in more than 100 years also means it’s a lock for the Brisbane Games in 2032.
The proposal has to be approved by the IOC at the end of this week at a meeting in Mumbai, where the ODI World Cup is taking place, and it’s likely to be a formality.
Perry, who turns 33 in November, conceded she wasn’t going to”trying to stick it out” to make the Olympics as a 37-year-old but lauded the decision the impact could have on the sport globally.
“It gives the opportunity to get more countries involved in what has traditionally been seen as a Commonwealth sport,” she said on Tuesday,
“We’ve seen with Rugby 7s it has experienced the same thing with countries like Russia and America and China participating so I think it’s great thing for growth.
“I think it’s an amazing announcement for the sport. We had the experience with the Comms Games (winning gold) and that was an amazing thing to be a part of.
“To have the chance to play at the Olympics that would be as exciting as any ICC event.”
ICC chairman Greg Barclay called the move a “significant landmark” for the sport.
“We are delighted that LA28 have recommended cricket for inclusion in the Olympics,” he said.
“Whilst this is not the final decision, it is a very significant landmark towards seeing cricket at the Olympics for the first time in more than a century.
“I’d like to thank LA28 for their support during the new sport evaluation process over last two years and we look forward to the final decision being taken at the IOC Session, in India, during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup next week.”
LA28 chair Casey Wasserman said cricket was the sort of sport that could “ignite the imagination on the field of play and drive culture off it”.
“They’re relevant, innovative and community-based, played in backyards, schoolyards, community centres, stadiums and parks across the US and the globe,” she said.
Cricket was a success at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, though it was only played by women’s teams, with Australia winning.
The T20 format will be used at the Olympics, with both men and women competing.