Former Indian cricket team star Rahul Dravid has backed the idea of cricket being included at the Olympic Games, reasoning that it will be “great for the game” should it happen.
Cricket has been played just once at the Olympics, at the Paris 1900 Games, with England taking the gold medal after beating France in a two-day unofficial Test match. Dravid, however, batted for the shorter version of the game.
“I think it will be great for the game if T20 can become an Olympic sport because there are 75 nations playing the format. I am certainly for the expansion of the T20 game,” Rahul Dravid told ESPNCricinfo.com.
“Of course, it will come with its challenges, especially with cricket needing certain facilities to be successful.
“As we have just seen, the success of the IPL (Indian Premier League) was in large part due to the quality of pitches. So, if we can arrange those facilities and the schedule works out, I think cricket can endeavour to be a part of the Olympics,” Rahul Dravid explained.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has mooted the idea in the past, asking its member nations to study the ‘potential benefits’ of including cricket at the Olympic Games.
England cricket captain Eoin Morgan had earlier hoped for the inclusion of the T10 format to be included. His views were backed by compatriot Sam Billings and West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite.
Moreover, USA Cricket is also actively trying to include cricket into the programme at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics in a bid to increase the popularity and level of competition of the game in the country.
“Cricket’s inclusion in the Olympic Games would undoubtedly be an enormous catalyst for growth of cricket in this country,” Iain Higgins, USA Cricket CEO, told Cricbuzz last month.
“Ultimately, the responsibility for leading this project lies with the ICC as the sport's international federation and it would need all of its members to be supportive before it could progress.
“I personally think that cricket would be a blockbuster event in the Olympics and we are supporting ongoing conversations with key stakeholders to make sure that the sport is as best placed as it can be for when it is ready to make the full commitment to pursue the opportunity,” Higgins added.
Cricket is no stranger to being a part of multi-sport events, especially in recent times.
It was played at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and was included in both the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games. Cricket is also set to kick off the 2022 Commonwealth Games.