In recent times the lot of fundamental questions erupted from many folds of cricket after ICC’s controversial decision to hold 10 team 50 over World Cup in the next two tournaments.
ICC has 102 member including affiliated and Associated countries, but only 10 team holds the prestigious status of playing the game’s longest form –Test cricket, which test the character and skills of cricketers.
Cricket being a century old game failed to acquire the world wide acceptability. There could be many reasons which deterred cricket from being a game which enjoy worldwide acceptability. The popular notion is that it is a time consuming game. Yes, that is right. But, history says, with the erosion of English colonial power Cricket rising popularity got derailed. But, where colonial presence of England was strong both cricket and football are equally popular.
Brazil cricket team
History says, 200 years ago, before football dwarfed the other team games, cricket was popular game across the world. Uruguay vs Chile rivalry the third oldest rivalry in cricket while USA vs Canada is the oldest. In 1893 Argentina crossed Andes by mule to play Chile in Santiago. But, with Spain conquered most parts of South America cricket had become a history in those countries sporting culture.
Argentina, Italy, France, Costa Rica, Brazil, Nigeria, Oman, Chile, Uruguay, China among other countries locked horns in order to qualify for World t20 qualifier in Ireland and Scotland.
Meanwhile, economic issues, cultural influx and DNA matter literally change the acceptability of cricket.
Recently, The Marylebone Cricket Club, the protégé of rules and regulations of the game, asked International Cricket Council (ICC) to get into the Olympic to make cricket a universal game.
“The Olympics is a fundamental opportunity for cricket – in both the men’s and women’s game – and with a global reach, such a presence would expose the game positively to new markets,” MCC stated.
Former Australian captain also batted for Cricket’s Olympic berth.
Cricket was first played Paris summer Olympic in 1900 before Imperial Cricket Club became International Cricket Council. Four teams including Belgium, Britain, France and Netherlands were scheduled to feature the tournament. But, Belgium and the Netherlands pulled out of the competition, leaving Britain and France lock horn for the championship. Britain defeated France by 158 runs.
Argentina Cricket team
The point Marylebone Cricket Club is, no doubt, a fundamental one. Among the prestigious multi sporting events, the 2014 Incheon Asiad let the game of bat and ball to play in which Sri Lanka was the champion, curtsey to Asian Cricket Council.
Unlike, football, cricket is more luxurious game and take huge time to get accustomed in the cultural vein of Spanish, Italian or Portuguese, French colony which traditionally loves playing with the legs.
However, with the rise t20 cricket, many football playing nations showing their interest in the game; but the ICC is seemed slow about the development of cricket, and still struck with the age old concept about cricket- the game of elite. The ten team concept for cricket world cup, nevertheless, will kill the burgeoning interest of non Test playing nations like Ireland, Kenya.
China Women Cricket team
To make the game popular among the non British colony countries Cricket is required the Olympic appearance. Gold in team game will obviously force China, Russia and USA to take the game seriously. ICC reportedly says that country like USA is not interested in cricket. But, it is ICC’s responsibility to make cricket is as important as football to those so called slack-towards-cricket Country.
How ICC could get cricket into Olympic fold?
Like football, cricket needs separate stadiums in Olympic stadium. This game is not possible in the venue of multi sporting event. ICC have to help International Olympic to build Stadium in the country where the game will be held. At present ICC is spending 300 crore for the development of game, but make the game popular they have to spend more for the Olympic.
Like ICC World T20 qualifier ICC also have to organise qualifying round throughout the year before the decisive tournament Olympic. All 102 teams will participate in this tournament including the Test playing nations.
Expertise: ICC should be proactive in their approach, instead of current wait and watch policy, it should help cricket bodies of 102 member countries with coaches and equipments. Cricket has produced enough legends, so they could help those countries with their expertise. The greats can’t refuse if ICC comes up with this noble objective, when game’s acceptability is at stake.
For example, the current Bangladesh team’s rise is the result of Cricket Australia who helped Bangladesh Cricket Board with their technical inputs and experts.
We also have take the fact into to consideration is that ICC did not ask 92 members comprised of Associate and Affiliated countries. They applied for the membership right. It means ICC has lot of option to develop the game in those countries.
What Benefit ICC will get if cricket feature in the Olympic Games?
In terms of money ICC will get nothing from sponsorship as the game will play under the flag of Olympics, ICC will have no rights to interfere in the biggest sporting event of the world. All the countries will participate though their Olympic associations. However, Olympic will help the game to be upgraded and ICC will have bigger proceeds than ever before.