Cricket at the Olympics: T-20, T-10 or a New Format?

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Cricket is one of the most popular sports across the world, in some regions more than others. However, there’s one aspect where cricket isn’t truly an ‘international’ sport compared to other major sports. To address that very issue, there has been great expectation over the years to include cricket at the Olympics.

Paying heed to that clarion call, the ICC – after receiving backing from the biggest cricket boards – has now officially announced its intention to bid for cricket’s entry into the Olympic Games community, from the 2028 games in Los Angeles, and beyond. While that is far away, there is a lot of work to be done to make it happen. That starts right away.

When it comes to cricket at the Olympics, one of the first things to consider is probably the biggest talking point – the format.

Will cricket at the Olympics be another T20 extravaganza?

The most popular format in cricket! T20s have been around for a long while now and if the ICC decides to go ahead with a well and truly tried and tested format, it has to be T20 cricket. Further making a strong case for T20s is the inclusion of women’s T20 cricket at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

However, the duration of events or matches plays a big role at the Olympics. Some other sports have also had to compromise, so to say, and ensure that events were finished within a shorter time frame. Tennis is a prime example of the same, where the best-of-5-sets format (for men’s tennis) has been done away with for The Games. While the traditional basketball format remains, 3×3 basketball – with shorter game time – was introduced this year and it had some great response.

T20s are a crowd favorite, but they will face stiff competition from other unique formats.

A high-five for T-10?

Another format in contention for cricket at the Olympics is 10-overs cricket, which has already been tested. We’ve seen T-10 leagues take place across the world. This format does address the concern of the length of matches.

T10 cricket will also keep the excitement and interest levels high among fans. That is a key factor as cricket would make its Olympic debut at a venue where international cricket is not played much.

Will ‘the hundred’ catch on?

Not even an active format not so long ago, the first edition of ‘The Hundred’ is currently underway in England. It is a tournament where each innings is of 100 balls each and the format has no concept of bowling overs.

Fighting early skepticism, ‘the hundred’ has attracted a lot of interest as the tournament has progressed. It is somewhere between T20 and T10 cricket and can certainly be looked at as an option.

Still in its inception phase, time will tell whether the 100-ball format will really catch on.

Has cricket ever been part of the Olympics?

As a matter of fact, it has. Way back in 1900, cricket was part of the Olympics. However, just one match was played – between Great Britain and France, which Great Britain won. Back then, it wasn’t even officially part of the Olympics. It was only in 1912 that the match was given official Olympic status.

There’s still a long way to go for the sport to return to the iconic event. But a big step in the right direction has already been made.

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