USA wicket keeper Dodson would prefer Olympic T20 over WT20

Sudipta / 25 June 2016
Dodson

The United States wicketkeeper-batsman Akeem Dodson has issued a plea to global administrators to work towards  supporting an ICC’s plea to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the inclusion of cricket in the 2024 Olympic.  He called Olympic “the grand stage of sport”.

Dodson’s comments were made after Patrick Sandusky of the USOC told ESPNcricinfo in a recent interview that “Twenty20 cricket at least is a very natural fit” in the Olympics, though the ICC remains ambivalent to the idea.

Dodson also revealed that  he always wish cricket should be included in the Olympic. “I pray weekly, daily for cricket in the Olympics,” Dodson told ESPNcricinfo.

“Right now the USA is in the lower league and we have to work our way up. Cricket in the Olympics would mean cricket on a world stage where the USA starts on a level playing field,” he reflects on the current condition of USA cricket.

“Everyone will start at level zero and we will now look to make whatever dreams we can come true from there. I believe that team USA, given that platform and a clean slate, cricket in the Olympics, I think we could [win a] medal. That is the prospect you all want. Can the USA win American gold at cricket? Hell yeah, we can.”

The 28-year-old cricketer was USA’s leading scorer in qualifying round held in Ireland and Scotland for the World T20 2016 in India.

He scored 165 runs in six matches as USA won three and lost three that was not enough for the qualification for the second time in a marquee ICC even after their appearance in 2004 Champions Trophy.

But unfortunately, the International Cricket Board (ICC) has imposed a punishment over the USCA because they failed to do proper use of ICC’s fund. Now, Dodson encouraged as ICC set a target for the USA. They have quite bulky work in hand. First, they have to qualify for the 2019 World Cup, 2020 World T20 and have to bid for the hosting rights of 2024 World T20.

However, it seems that ICC wants the USA plays a role in pushing cricket in the Olympic if Los Angeles wins the hosting rights for the 2024 Summer Olympic.

When asked whether he would World T20 or Olympic Dodson said, “Olympic T20. Even though playing a World T20 competition is something very commendable and it is the grand stage of world cricket, the Olympics is the grand stage of sport,” Dodson said. “That’s where we want to play, that’s where every athlete dreams of playing, to do it at the Olympics.

“Everyone always says you are a national representative when you’re playing for the USA and you’re a representative to US cricket, but we would truly feel like national representatives if we played cricket as an Olympic sport for Team USA. That would be a dream come true. A US Olympian, that part of it is the most important. A lot of people are able to say they’ve played a sport but to say that you’ve done it at an Olympic level, that is unbelievable almost. To have that experience with you and to remember everything that goes along with the Olympics – the Olympic village and the opening ceremony – doing all of that would be unforgettable.”

At the time of 2024 summer, Olympic Dodson will be 36, so it will take a toll on his fitness.  He is convinced that helping the USA qualify for a spot in an Olympic.

Dodson would be 36 by the time the 2024 Summer Olympics rolls around and his reputation as a fitness workhorse means he would still have a realistic chance to be part of a USA team if cricket were to successfully gain inclusion in the Olympics. He is convinced that helping the USA qualify for a spot in an Olympic T20 competition would galvanise the sport’s growth around his country and the world. It is why he is pleading for administrators elsewhere and in ICC circles to come around to the idea of submitting an application to the International Olympic Committee.

“Cricket was in the Olympics a long time ago, in the early 1900s,” Dodson said. “What can I say to you to make you want to put cricket in the Olympics? Please, do I have to beg? Cricket is the kind of sport that once you learn to love it, the passion and the feeling that cricket gives you, I haven’t experienced it anywhere else.

“The amount of American spirit that we could generate and create in this beautiful game, it would be paramount. It would take over the world. Please let us play the Olympics.”