July 17, 2008

The Olympics can wait

Why pushing it onto the world's biggest sporting platform is hardly the best way to globalise cricket
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Steve Waugh has been campaigning for cricket's inclusion in the Olympics based on his experience at the Commonwealth Games © Getty Images
 

Cricket at the Olympics: the idea certainly has a ring to it and makes for a good headline but is it really the best way to globalise the game?

First, I must confess to being a sceptic when it comes to the Olympic Games. I'm not quite in the category of the person who suggested the Olympic pool in Beijing had been deliberately built a couple of metres short (and hence the extraordinary number of world records), but a healthy sceptic nevertheless. Stories about IOC delegates accepting large payments for their votes, and charges of cheating by judges and officials tend to have that effect. And then there's the ever-present spectre of performances being enhanced by illegal substances.

However, there has been a strong call for cricket to be an Olympic sport by current players. Even those two former antagonists Steve Waugh and Sourav Ganguly have backed Adam Gilchrist's suggestion that the game make a push for inclusion in the 2020 games. So let's explore the pros and cons.

The main reason proffered is the globalisation of the game. This is a commendable aim but the question remains: "Can you create a market for cricket in places like the USA and China by playing at the Olympics, or do you first try to make the citizens of those countries more aware of the game so there is then a demand for it at Olympic level?"

Any cricket match involving either USA or China in the Olympics is unlikely to receive much television exposure in those countries, with all the competition for coverage among the major Olympic sports. The only reason for cricket to appear in the Olympic coverage in those countries would be if their team produced a major upset. Judging by the USA's lacklustre performance so far in top international cricket competitions, a nuclear-free world is more likely.

Perhaps a more realistic approach would be to expand the IPL model, with franchises in places like USA, Japan, China and Europe. That way, competitive matches are guaranteed in those countries and an opportunity is created for an increased audience for cricket on television in those regions. By taking this approach it would also accelerate the development of young homegrown players from those countries, who would eventually go on to play in a competitive national team. When that time arrives, it would be appropriate to start thinking about cricket as an Olympic sport.

In the past, when the USA had competed at the highest level, the bulk of the team was made up of older expats from cricket regions like the Caribbean or the subcontinent. They still had some skill but were way out of their depth when it came to running between wickets and fielding, two crucial aspects of the short versions of the game. Consequently, rather than the USA having a young team building toward a strong performance down the track, they were a bunch of individuals trying for one last hurrah - before the cycle repeated itself at the next tournament, four years later.

 
 
Can you create a market for cricket in places like the USA and China by playing at the Olympics, or do you first try to make the citizens of those countries more aware of the game so there is then a demand for it at Olympic level?
 

In proposing cricket as an Olympic sport, Waugh cited as a reason the incredibly good feeling he experienced while competing in the 1998 Commonwealth Games. That's a great personal memory but what did involvement in the Games do for cricket?

Though the 1998 Commonwealth Games involved all the major cricket-playing countries (the Caribbean was represented by individual nations), the sport was dropped from the next Games, which were held in Manchester, a major city in the country where the game was invented.

Playing at the Olympics would also create a major headache in regard to the international cricket schedule. With the proliferation of Twenty20 events in world cricket, the international itinerary is currently as cluttered as a mechanic's workshop. Rather than take on another major tournament, and the resulting qualifying event the Olympics would require, the ICC desperately needs to trim the current schedule so it resembles an orderly document rather than a parchment covered in Sanskrit scribble.

There's no doubt Twenty20 is the way to globalise the game, but that cause won't be helped if, as in all likelihood, only the eight major cricket nations qualify to play at the Olympics. Marching in an Olympic Games opening ceremony might give individual cricketers goosebumps, but as part of the evolution of the game, it wouldn't rate as a pimple on the backside.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • samarthya on August 20, 2008, 0:02 GMT

    I think that more than 1/6th world population is engaged in Cricket so it should be given its fair share. It is a no-brainer that more people play and follow cricket than sports like handball/rowing, trampoline, fencing etc. Cricket is player in at least 30-40 nations that is more than sufficient to ask for a healthy competition by including 16 teams. If we are worried about the dominance of top 8 nations, it is no different than basketball or volleyball where top 8 teams are more or less fixed. So, inclusion in Olympics should be pushed for. It will further globalse the sport as a by-product if not a direct product.

  • Dogevpr2 on August 19, 2008, 12:34 GMT

    Cricket2012Games.com can't get us there alone, but what its trying to do is motivate the cricketing world to make the effort, rather than accept being out in the cold.No business stays strong by standing still,we have to expand and there are so many ways being in the Olympics will be good for cricket and vice versa.I'm surprised that former world power Great Britain is not more interested in putting its stamp on the Olympics by getting cricket in.India has to manifest its standing in the world, and not campaign to host the Olympics, but to get its sport cricket into the 2012 Olympics. BTW Brian Lara is playing golf, is Tiger Woods playing cricket?

  • chris_drake on August 19, 2008, 0:01 GMT

    I've seen some people mention we could include this in 2012 olympics. Doesn't cricket need program status recongition, which needs to be achieved in a meeting 7 years out from the olympics. So, Cricket2012Games.com isn't gonna get us there because we only just received recognition status (along with close to 30 other sports) which took about 6 years I think?

    If other team sports can play there, why can't cricket? 15 years ago basketball was dominated by a few nations, but now there is no guarantee Eastern Europe/USA or American based teams will always take the gold...it would be kinda cool so see lesser nations finally stepping up to the test teams. It's not like playing in ICC tournaments will get them there anytime soon, maybe this will give those nations a bigger push...

  • StJohn on August 18, 2008, 18:36 GMT

    The article doesn't really give strong reasons not to have cricket in the Olympics. Yes, there may be better ways of promoting the game, but that does not exclude Olympic participation and vice-versa. Yes, the international cricket calendar is crowded, but there should be plenty of time to make some adjustments by 2020. The article is a little negative and tends to consider Olympic participation effectively as a zero-sum game: if cricket's in, why would that rule out global expansion of an IPL model? I tend to agree more with the argument that the Olympics are about athletics, etc. But with so many frankly obscure or quasi-sports participating (BMX racing?!), why should cricket exclude itself? The Olypmics is a global event and anybody marketing the game should grab that exposure, even if it may be of limited benefit. The test must be: would the Olympics be bad for cricket? If not, then it would be churlish not to try to take part.

  • StaalBurgher on August 18, 2008, 11:35 GMT

    First and foremost the Olympics should be an athletics competition. I also think that only sports for which the Olympics would be the ultimate pinnacle should be included. It's a farce that sports such as soccer, basketball, golf, cricket (?!) should be included. T-20 is cheap knock-off, an entertaining one I'll grant you, of Test cricket. As to the article, Ian has a good point. The Olympics will not benefit cricket as much as some of you would like to think. The success of cricket is definitely not linked with inclusion in the Olympics. However, it is possible that the cricket unions from associate countries are more likely to receive government funding if their sport receives "Olympic" recognition. Will that speed up development significantly? That is highly debatable.

  • Dme3 on August 18, 2008, 3:32 GMT

    Cricket has never been seen as a global sport for the matter of fact that its played between only 10 countries or so.But suddenly all this talk to introduce cricket into a premium sporting event would definitely boost the adrenaline of the organisers of the game.I feel all this would is that it will bring fresh blood into the veins i agree with chappel to an extent that it may not be as big as we are thinking it to be, commercialising that is.but what i think is that if a sporstman is judjed by his achievments at olympics then cricketers shouid get an oppurtunity to do so.abhinav bindra won india's first individual gold medal and former olympians like milkha singh have said it as the biggest sporting day for india ,bigger than 83wc victory by kapil dev and the 75 hockey wcwin,which i totally disagree.more than for the game we should also look for the respect of the cricketers in intl arena.i might as well remind u that steve waugh's australian cricket team was voted the best intl team

  • Viren11 on August 18, 2008, 2:37 GMT

    I totally disagree with the comments from Ian Chappel. Why should we bother about China and US for olympics? The greats like Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist raised this concern so that it can help to globalize and i beleive this will definitely do. I dont understand why Ian always opposes the good cause for the cricket.

  • redneck on August 18, 2008, 2:26 GMT

    the way i see it if european handball and americas favourite past time (baseball) get a gig at the olympics then why not cricket! the game its self is already played in diverse countries with very different cultures. and im sure every cricket nation would love to get a medal on thier medal tallys. and the sport is a more even field than basketball and baseball in which the IOC might aswell present the gold to the USA before the games even start!

  • bdcricketfans on August 18, 2008, 2:05 GMT

    Reading you, Mr. Chappel, I felt inclined to ask whether you really follow the Olympics. Look at the medal tally for the Chinese, where are their golds coming from? They are getting them from rowing, hurdles besides the regulars. Are these sports that had been there in China since Ming dynasty? No, they learnt them so that they can compete with USA in the Olympic medal table. Introduce a new sport aka a new gold into the game and the olympic superpowers i.e USA, China, Russia WILL think of sending a competitive team to get the new gold. Regarding the cricket schedule issue, can we really forecast the situation in 2020 from here? Surely sth as big as Olympic, once in four years, can be fitted in the cricket schedule when IPL can crop up from nowhere? Saying all this I agree with u to arrange IPL at places like USA, but mark my words, they need more incentive to engage in cricket and that is the possiblility of getting an Olympic gold medal.

  • sharmavivek on August 17, 2008, 23:08 GMT

    Here is the issue - the Olympics is about performing at the highest level in any particular sporting activity. In cricket, this means test matches. The problem is that the Olympic schedule may mean that only 20/20 games can be fitted in - even 50 over matches may be too long. In my view, an 'Olympic medal' in cricket would have no meaning whatsoever if it is obtained on the basis of 20 over games. It would not be cricket and it would certainly not be the highest and most nuanced level of the sport. So, let's keep out of the Olympics if it means producing cricket at, and for, the lowest common denominator.

  • samarthya on August 20, 2008, 0:02 GMT

    I think that more than 1/6th world population is engaged in Cricket so it should be given its fair share. It is a no-brainer that more people play and follow cricket than sports like handball/rowing, trampoline, fencing etc. Cricket is player in at least 30-40 nations that is more than sufficient to ask for a healthy competition by including 16 teams. If we are worried about the dominance of top 8 nations, it is no different than basketball or volleyball where top 8 teams are more or less fixed. So, inclusion in Olympics should be pushed for. It will further globalse the sport as a by-product if not a direct product.

  • Dogevpr2 on August 19, 2008, 12:34 GMT

    Cricket2012Games.com can't get us there alone, but what its trying to do is motivate the cricketing world to make the effort, rather than accept being out in the cold.No business stays strong by standing still,we have to expand and there are so many ways being in the Olympics will be good for cricket and vice versa.I'm surprised that former world power Great Britain is not more interested in putting its stamp on the Olympics by getting cricket in.India has to manifest its standing in the world, and not campaign to host the Olympics, but to get its sport cricket into the 2012 Olympics. BTW Brian Lara is playing golf, is Tiger Woods playing cricket?

  • chris_drake on August 19, 2008, 0:01 GMT

    I've seen some people mention we could include this in 2012 olympics. Doesn't cricket need program status recongition, which needs to be achieved in a meeting 7 years out from the olympics. So, Cricket2012Games.com isn't gonna get us there because we only just received recognition status (along with close to 30 other sports) which took about 6 years I think?

    If other team sports can play there, why can't cricket? 15 years ago basketball was dominated by a few nations, but now there is no guarantee Eastern Europe/USA or American based teams will always take the gold...it would be kinda cool so see lesser nations finally stepping up to the test teams. It's not like playing in ICC tournaments will get them there anytime soon, maybe this will give those nations a bigger push...

  • StJohn on August 18, 2008, 18:36 GMT

    The article doesn't really give strong reasons not to have cricket in the Olympics. Yes, there may be better ways of promoting the game, but that does not exclude Olympic participation and vice-versa. Yes, the international cricket calendar is crowded, but there should be plenty of time to make some adjustments by 2020. The article is a little negative and tends to consider Olympic participation effectively as a zero-sum game: if cricket's in, why would that rule out global expansion of an IPL model? I tend to agree more with the argument that the Olympics are about athletics, etc. But with so many frankly obscure or quasi-sports participating (BMX racing?!), why should cricket exclude itself? The Olypmics is a global event and anybody marketing the game should grab that exposure, even if it may be of limited benefit. The test must be: would the Olympics be bad for cricket? If not, then it would be churlish not to try to take part.

  • StaalBurgher on August 18, 2008, 11:35 GMT

    First and foremost the Olympics should be an athletics competition. I also think that only sports for which the Olympics would be the ultimate pinnacle should be included. It's a farce that sports such as soccer, basketball, golf, cricket (?!) should be included. T-20 is cheap knock-off, an entertaining one I'll grant you, of Test cricket. As to the article, Ian has a good point. The Olympics will not benefit cricket as much as some of you would like to think. The success of cricket is definitely not linked with inclusion in the Olympics. However, it is possible that the cricket unions from associate countries are more likely to receive government funding if their sport receives "Olympic" recognition. Will that speed up development significantly? That is highly debatable.

  • Dme3 on August 18, 2008, 3:32 GMT

    Cricket has never been seen as a global sport for the matter of fact that its played between only 10 countries or so.But suddenly all this talk to introduce cricket into a premium sporting event would definitely boost the adrenaline of the organisers of the game.I feel all this would is that it will bring fresh blood into the veins i agree with chappel to an extent that it may not be as big as we are thinking it to be, commercialising that is.but what i think is that if a sporstman is judjed by his achievments at olympics then cricketers shouid get an oppurtunity to do so.abhinav bindra won india's first individual gold medal and former olympians like milkha singh have said it as the biggest sporting day for india ,bigger than 83wc victory by kapil dev and the 75 hockey wcwin,which i totally disagree.more than for the game we should also look for the respect of the cricketers in intl arena.i might as well remind u that steve waugh's australian cricket team was voted the best intl team

  • Viren11 on August 18, 2008, 2:37 GMT

    I totally disagree with the comments from Ian Chappel. Why should we bother about China and US for olympics? The greats like Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist raised this concern so that it can help to globalize and i beleive this will definitely do. I dont understand why Ian always opposes the good cause for the cricket.

  • redneck on August 18, 2008, 2:26 GMT

    the way i see it if european handball and americas favourite past time (baseball) get a gig at the olympics then why not cricket! the game its self is already played in diverse countries with very different cultures. and im sure every cricket nation would love to get a medal on thier medal tallys. and the sport is a more even field than basketball and baseball in which the IOC might aswell present the gold to the USA before the games even start!

  • bdcricketfans on August 18, 2008, 2:05 GMT

    Reading you, Mr. Chappel, I felt inclined to ask whether you really follow the Olympics. Look at the medal tally for the Chinese, where are their golds coming from? They are getting them from rowing, hurdles besides the regulars. Are these sports that had been there in China since Ming dynasty? No, they learnt them so that they can compete with USA in the Olympic medal table. Introduce a new sport aka a new gold into the game and the olympic superpowers i.e USA, China, Russia WILL think of sending a competitive team to get the new gold. Regarding the cricket schedule issue, can we really forecast the situation in 2020 from here? Surely sth as big as Olympic, once in four years, can be fitted in the cricket schedule when IPL can crop up from nowhere? Saying all this I agree with u to arrange IPL at places like USA, but mark my words, they need more incentive to engage in cricket and that is the possiblility of getting an Olympic gold medal.

  • sharmavivek on August 17, 2008, 23:08 GMT

    Here is the issue - the Olympics is about performing at the highest level in any particular sporting activity. In cricket, this means test matches. The problem is that the Olympic schedule may mean that only 20/20 games can be fitted in - even 50 over matches may be too long. In my view, an 'Olympic medal' in cricket would have no meaning whatsoever if it is obtained on the basis of 20 over games. It would not be cricket and it would certainly not be the highest and most nuanced level of the sport. So, let's keep out of the Olympics if it means producing cricket at, and for, the lowest common denominator.

  • Nihontone on August 17, 2008, 21:08 GMT

    Including cricket in the Olympics so that the game will be accepted in the US and China is a very lame motivation. Why do we need validation from these places? Who cares if they like or not? The major reason people want cricket to be in the US and China is so they can money. There's already enough money in cricket. It's just not spread around evenly.

  • getrealforreal on August 17, 2008, 20:02 GMT

    Wow Ian, you have given a new meaning to hypocrisy... You start your article by stating the fact that you are skeptic of Olympics because of all the back office politics and how certain official powers side with one another solely based on the money on the line. And then you try to glorify about how IPL needs to expand to achieve Crickets globalization goals. Wow! I am convinced that you have been living under a rock to not notice all the political agendas that float around world cricket when it comes to BCCI getting everything their way, white and colored nations siding with one another based on their personal agendas etc. Wake up! You state your concerns about disturbing the international cricket schedule, which has become a joke ever since powerful cricket boards like BCCI/IPL started deciding who plays what type of cricket and when.

  • Irishfan on August 17, 2008, 19:17 GMT

    I am split down the middle with this whole cricket/ Olympics thing. On one hand, Mr. Chappel has a very valid argument. Will Olympic Cricket attract an audience outside the Test Nations if the ICC does not work to get it recognized in the US, China, Europe, etc.? That needs serious thinking about. On the other hand, you could argue that what cricket lacks in the US and other countries is credibility... and getting on to the Olympic program ( even if it is only a youth or "A" team competition) could buy it a whole lot of credibility. So... we will just have to see how the T20 revolution pans out around the globe in the next half dozen years or so. If the signs are positive, cricket can start campaigning for the 2020 games. If not, then maybe they should focus on getting into the Commonwealth Games, and then maybe get into the Olympics in 2028.

  • cricketrocks on August 17, 2008, 18:10 GMT

    Sad article. Poorly written and the arguments put forth are not very convincing. The players are only pushing for the 2020 games and not the 2012 games. That gives the non-test-playing nations enough time to come up with IPL style tournaments and develop home grown talent.

  • Satyajitdutt on August 17, 2008, 17:55 GMT

    Well said again as usual Chappelli! I have great admiration of players like Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist and co. when they donned their national colours but I think that their assertions of expanding cricket into countries such as America or China is completely far-fetched. These countries have at least 4 or 5 established sports that would be above cricket and it would be a fool's dream to think that cricket could even compete with them. And given the floundering, hopeless body that is the ICC, would you trust them in trying to expand the game to these countries? I certainly would not. As an Indian too with the great achievements of Abhinav Bindra in the Olympics, why should India marginalise future Olympians of other sports for our inconsistent cricket team. And regardless, I wouldn't want to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics in 2020 or whenever to see only 14-15 people come out to represent India, our cricketers, and see them flop on the biggest stage

  • Dogevpr2 on August 17, 2008, 16:24 GMT

    Great player though he was Mr Chappell misses the point- basketball became global when the US stars entered the 1992 Olympics. Cricket is bigger than every sport in the Olympics except for soccer and now basketball, but it lacks a profile outside of the cricket world - it needs the Olympics in 2012 or it will fade even more behind baseball and Golf. At Cricket2012Games.com we understand the conservatism of many in the cricket world and we would hate to see this cause our game to drop even further behind other sports globallly.Athletes worldwide are motivated by the prospect of Olympic Glory, this would only help our sport.Besides the Olympics need cricket to truly include the 25% of the world's population represented by India and the South Asian countries

  • vatsap on August 17, 2008, 16:15 GMT

    Hello Mate,

    Why do you always have to go after Steve Waugh. I wouldn't be surprised by your reaction if it was a Shane Warne or a Mark Taylor voicing his opinion :-)

    Cheers Vatsa

  • hhersh on August 17, 2008, 15:17 GMT

    Cricket has never been seen as a global sport for the matter of fact that its played between only 10 countries or so.But suddenly all this talk to introduce cricket into a premium sporting event would definitely boost the adrenaline of the organisers of the game.I feel all this would is that it will bring fresh blood into the veins

  • addiemanav on August 17, 2008, 14:37 GMT

    i agree with chappel to an extent that it may not be as big as we are thinking it to be, commercialising that is.but what i think is that if a sporstman is judjed by his achievments at olympics then cricketers shouid get an oppurtunity to do so.abhinav bindra won india's first individual gold medal and former olympians like milkha singh have said it as the biggest sporting day for india ,bigger than 83wc victory by kapil dev and the 75 hockey wcwin,which i totally disagree.more than for the game we should also look for the respect of the cricketers in intl arena.i might as well remind u that steve waugh's australian cricket team was voted the best intl team in any sport in the espy awards(sports oscars) and probably in the same year india had beaten them in the test series.i think we should push the game just for the players ,who knows we might globalise the game as well.

  • Timothyab on August 17, 2008, 14:31 GMT

    Mr Chappell, sir, you have completely missed the point...The development of cricket as a worldwide sport is crucially linked to the participation in the Olympics.. The reason, as is often the case with these things, is money.

    Because cricket is not currently an Olympic sport the associations in countries where the game is developing receive little state funding (and in a lot of case absolutely none)..

    If/when cricket becomes recognised by the IOC it will enable numerous countries to secure vital extra funding from their respective governments and enable the sport to be officially "recognised" by the state.

    If competitiveness is the issue why not simply exclude the Test-playing nations from the Games??

  • spongebat_squarestumps on August 17, 2008, 14:13 GMT

    Wow. Changing arena conditions to suit breaking of records; delegates accepting large payments for their votes, charges of cheating by judges and officials; spectre of performances being enhanced by illegal substances. It sounds to me that the Olympics (IOC) and cricket (ICC) are an ideal pairing, Ian. All we now need is for the ICC to begin reversing decisions of appointed field judges after the fact and the analogy is complete. Oh. Hang on....

  • Psychosis on August 17, 2008, 13:40 GMT

    why u want to include cricket in olympics do we want to lose against italy, china, georgia etc also

    do we want a news sayin India missed the Bronze...against Some country

  • Radomir on August 17, 2008, 13:19 GMT

    In relation to your comment about the hectic schedule, I beleive that all these lucrative Twenty20 tournaments should be put a side for the games, or we could leave it up to the players to decide. I understand your arguement but we musn't go assuming anything before the administrators have actually told us what they plan. Once we know that we can judge them accordingly. Let's just see how cricket goes at the olympics, I know I'll be watching and so will all the cricket fans, and possibly some non cricketing country people who's national team may have success and result to an increase of popularity in the sport.

  • hypnoticmonkey on August 17, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    Chappelli, I always like reading your articles, you usually have a very good point to make and you always back it up with reasoned logic as opposed to just stuffy traditionalism or personal emotion. That said, I struggle with your writing style. I feel that you try too hard, like you said about the cricket calendar, it is just a bit of a jumble of mixed metaphors. Indeed, when you talked about th calendar you started off with a simile comparing it to a mechanics workshop and then moved onto a metaphor about a neat document. One of these would have sufficed and you could have extended the mechanics bit out to the end of the paragraph too. An extended metaphor can work quite well, but too many and it becomes difficult to keep up with the article. Anyhoo, keep up the good work and I hope you can take on board my advice to make it even better work.

  • Carriacou on August 17, 2008, 13:00 GMT

    I certainly agree with many of the comments made by Ian Chapell. As a cricket lover being involved with cricket in the USA for the past 35 years, I do not envision cricket being telivised in the US in the Olympics in the year 2020 unless cricket first becomes accepted by a fair percent of the US sports fans. If on the other hand cricket rises above the the level at which it is currently playen in the US by constructing international grounds and having some sort of professional leagues in 20/20 competition for example, then cricket in the olympics may then get milage in a country like the USA. Most cricket fans currently living in the US are not starved for cricket at an international level as we have access to Satelite TV and do make trips to our regions of origin to view live matches anyway.

  • upokhrel on August 17, 2008, 12:58 GMT

    Why does Ian Chappell always need to go against the rest of the world ? Man, people said the same with Baseball and Basketball until the mother of those two sports, USA, got beaten by other countries (Japan and Argentina). Twenty20 is a hard hitting, an appealing and thrilling sports that has no limit for entertainment for 4 hours. People might actually switch to cricket from Baseball if you can really go ahead and advertise it properly. Your article does really explain only the other side of the coin.

  • bigfatphoenix on August 17, 2008, 12:50 GMT

    Nice article !....but its very jarring to see "sanskrit scribble" - isnt there any substitutable expression- "gobbledygook" perhaps. I would kindly suggest discretion in future.

  • Royy on August 17, 2008, 12:37 GMT

    I find this "inferiority complex", if one may use that term, among the cricketing fraternity to a large extent unfounded and blown completely out of proportions. If cricket has a limited audience, where does that put most of the popular American sports in comparison? How many Americans does one hear complaining about the regional nature of their sports, despite the aping of popular American culture across the world? It is a healthy sign that the authorities of the game proclaim to globalise the game on a bigger scale, in order to materialise which, I feel China is a much better bet than the US anyway, not only because of its huge population and burgeoning middle class, but also because the Chinese, in the recent years, have shown a far more openness towards embracing something new than the Americans. Indeed, if cricket is ever included in the Olympics it would be a momentous occasion, but it's a far cry to imagine it will do anything toward propagating the game across the globe.

  • Royy on August 17, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    Ian seems to have hit the nail on its head to a degree, despite failing to elucidate on the 'pros' of the contention as part of his original plan for the article. The sentiment working behind wanting cricket's inclusion in the Olympics seems to stem more from this notion that it will put that elusive stamp on the game as a true global sport, especially when one of the common criticisms levelled at it is that it is played among 8-10 nations, than from any realistic expectation of spreading its practice or popularity across the world. However, it is worthwhile to note that inclusion in the Olympics doesn't directly correlate to an increase in a game's popularity, as evinced by several obscure sports perenially featuring in it. In fact, I cannot recall a single sport in the modern era that was popularised or propagated beyond its geographical spread in a wide scale, following its inclusion in the Olympics, notwithstanding the prestige that came to be associated with it as a result. Cont.

  • Md.Sultan.Siddiquee on August 17, 2008, 12:24 GMT

    Contd...

    Then you talk of Commonwealth Games. It has been 10 years since the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the cricket has changed a lot. The countries who 'ruled' cricket have changed, the rules itself has changed and new formats have emerged. It is not a secret that a 50 over match was never going to be a great success in these games given the time it takes to complete. Twenty20 is altogether different. Steve Waugh knows the pride in representing his country in such games because he participated in one. You do not know it because you never did.

    The title of your article is "The Olympics can wait". But the way you have come up with your logical conclusions (???), it looks like the title should have been "The cricket can wait". Not Really....

    At the end, it is the responsibility of greats like you to find solutions. Do not write articles just for the sake of opposing someone's view. Find solutions because "If You Are Not A Part Of The Solution, You Are Part Of The Problem".

  • Md.Sultan.Siddiquee on August 17, 2008, 12:12 GMT

    Contd..

    Not all the countries play all the games and if there are 20 countries to participate in Olympics cricket, we should be good to go. In fact I would like such games to be involved where USA and China does not have much dominance. This would not only give other countries a chance to win medals (e.g. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka etc, thereby increasing veiwership from these countries benefiiting Olympics as well!!) but also make the sporting authorities in USA and China to start thinking seriously of it.

    Contd....

  • Md.Sultan.Siddiquee on August 17, 2008, 12:00 GMT

    A not so impressive article this time Mr. Chappel. You have mentioned a couple of reasons why it wouldn't be a very good idea to include cricket in Olympics, but none of them are strong enough to really succeed in putting your point forward.

    Your suggesstion that including Twenty20 in Olympics2020 does not in itself mean that the game would be globalized. The question here is what makes you just sit down and stop thinking for globalization of cricket once it has been included in olympics? We still have 12 years before 2020 and by looking at the way Twenty20 has been topping popularity charts, it wouldn't be surprising to see cricket growing into major sports in many countries. By the way, I am surprised to see that you think the game will only be considered globalized if USA or China participate. I do not find any other reason for mentioning these countries in your article.

    Contd.....

  • mlmakin on August 17, 2008, 11:51 GMT

    Any Olympics initiative would have to be part of a broader, well-thought-out strategy. Such an initiative and the alternative suggested by Ian Chappell -- an international expansion of the IPL or something similar, to include franchises in non-test-match countries, which have, ideally, a solid potential fan base (ie, large numbers of expats; the USA is a prime candidate here) are not, in fact, mutually exclusive within a broader strategy. But what is needed is leadership that thinks beyond the immediate needs of individual, competing countries (so it's unlikely to happen, anyway).

    Meanwhile, Ian Chappell has identified perfectly the basic problem with the current state of US cricket: an endless supply of talented adult players, arriving as expats, but _little attention to youth development_. There's another area where sensible and effective leadership is required for cricket to flourish, but neither USACA, the national board, nor the IOC are likely to provide such leadership.

  • mehul1978 on August 17, 2008, 11:46 GMT

    When I started to read this article, I was hoping I do not find any concrete reason from Mr Chappell, and by the time I finished reading it, I wasn't disappointed in myself for thinking so. Ian started to talk about pros/cons of 20-20 in olympics and on other side he diverted of the topic to say how the usa/china teams are weak and full of ex-carib and ex-asian immigrants. Let me clear the doubt for the writer of the article, not all countries participate in all sports in olympics, it is not necessary!! does usa play soccer in olympics?, does pakistan play baseball in olympics? Getting 20-20 into olympics is a brilliant idea...it will not only gain more audience since it's not only become the faster version of contemporary cricket but has turned out to be a far more exciting version of it's old rival baseball. This very reason should pull in the crowd from all parts of world...including ex-immigrants who can be found in every country. Hope cricinfo editors dont ignore my 2 cent msg.

  • TwitterJitter on August 17, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    Very cogent points, Ian. I expect nothing less from Ian's article. You make a very convincing case for how cricket should not depend on Olympics as a means to go global. I agree that it would do nothing to promote the game in countries like USA. I see soccer making a grass roots efforts here in US - starting from elementary schools -to attract kids into playing their sport. Kids here did not start playing soccer just because it was a Olympic sport. Cricket is played mostly by expats here and unless the local kids start playing it, it will never catch on.

  • aashrey88 on August 17, 2008, 10:50 GMT

    This article would have made sense, if cricket was there at the current Olympics or at least the next one. How can Ian or anyone for that matter say that 12 years also cricket will also be limited to the top 10 countries. I think the Olympics are an ideal platform to globalise the game.

  • Lateralis on August 17, 2008, 10:29 GMT

    Here's a novel question: why does cricket need to be "globalised" anyway?

    Cricket isn't a whore to be pimped out to all and sundry. If cricket were globalised, what would happen to Test match cricket? Are we to have 20 Test playing teams? How long then would the future tours programme be? Or are we to have two, or maybe even three tiers to Test match cricket with promotion and relegation? What about the World Cup? The competition last year was an utter shambles and went on for far too long as it was, nevermind adding another dozen or two teams to the mix.

    There are currently plenty of countries trying to improve their game to compete at international level already: Ireland, Canada, Scotland and Kenya to name a few. Why not concentrate some more money to these countries that actually want to play, rather than spread cricket's limited funds too thinly to be useful?

  • robbovic on August 17, 2008, 10:14 GMT

    look olympics for Twenty20 is a good idea but first it would have to be trialled again in something like the commonwealth games.

    To make it more competitive the associates should be able to field a full strength first XI whilst the test playing nations should be restricted to under 21's or under 23's or something like that??

    just to even the playing field

    yay or nay, that's my rant

  • apar on August 17, 2008, 9:50 GMT

    Ian,

    I do not think you are racist, or that India should continue to play hard ball in the world of cricket administration. But, what the hell do you mean by

    'the ICC desperately needs to trim the current schedule so it resembles an orderly document rather than a parchment covered in Sanskrit scribble.'

    Please explain.

    Thanks.

  • radioFREEmadras on August 17, 2008, 8:50 GMT

    I'm sorry to say that this article is completely off point. Cricket will not expand into the United States and China, not in a hundred years. In spite of hosting a Football World Cup in 94, the world's most popular sport remains a marginal presence in the American sporting consciousness. How can cricket even begin to penetrate this market when there is a perfect bat-and-ball alternative: Baseball?

    And why does a discussion of Cricket at the Olympics need to consider American and Chinese participation? China has never competed in a men's Olympic Hockey tournament and the USA has not done so since 1948... no one ever questions if Olympic participation is bad for Hockey! Cricket needs to be an Olympic event so Namibia, Kenya, Canada, the Netherlands, maybe even Israel, Argentina and Germany can compete. What can do more to raise the profile of Cricket in these Associate Members than tying it with nationalism and Olympic pride? An Olympic gold should be as good as winning the World Cup!

  • VenkatAnanth on August 17, 2008, 6:42 GMT

    If cricket does make it to the Olympics, we must ensure that there is no domination of the few i.e. stronger cricket nations and must give an Afghanistan or an Ireland an equal shot at glory. One of the possible suggestions in this regard could be adhering to the football format/rules of Under-23 players, with 2-3 seniors in the squad which at least attempts to bring about a level-playing field.

    On the other hand, if Twenty20 does pervade into international cricketing domain, by 2020 - I can see only T20 being played. One T20 World Cup every year, an IPL season, now T20 being played once in four years through the Olympics, and two years from the Olympic year - T20 in the Commonwealth Games. What does this show for the game ? Cricket's inclusion may well lead to its death.

  • usama on August 17, 2008, 6:39 GMT

    First of all, Ian, a very nice article. Now I would like to add a few more things to it. How many T20 tournaments can you really have? There is the IPL, ICL, world T20, Champions League and now there is all this talk about T20 in Olympics. So' who would be the real champion? I know ICL, IPL and the Champions League are made up of city-based teams but at the end of the day there should be one country or one city that can say that they are the champions. With all these tournaments there is just too much to consume for fans. What the ICC can do is either get rid of T20 World Cup or forget about the Olympics. They need to take matters into their own hands. There should just be one tournament or the value of T20 would just go downhill, which is the last thing cricket needs. In addition, ICC must protect Test cricket and definitely have a Test championship every 2 years or even four years. Thats the only way cricket can become a major sport.

  • VenkatAnanth on August 17, 2008, 6:35 GMT

    I think the game needs to be globalised before being included in the Olympics. I agree with Chappell, that if cricket was included in the 1998 Commonwealth, it should have been a part of the 2002 and perhaps the 2006 edition as well, since those two editions were played in countries that have been playing cricket for ages. To popularise the game in countries like USA and China, it will take time. It will not be easy, but one of the advantages about countries like China is that they take up to the game ever so quickly, learn the tactics, the strategies and the mechanics involved. Once we achieve that, I think we must see cricket in the Games. Having said that, cricket is played by just 10 nations. You see a niche Japanese sport like Judo being taken up by countries like Portugal and Azerbaijan and that makes you wonder if the ICC is doing its bit in promoting the game off the shores of the 20 or so countries who actually play the game seriously (Associates included).

  • Anjo on August 17, 2008, 6:09 GMT

    They're talking about 2020, and thats 12 years away. If the administrators don't have plans to globalise the game by then, and if they're gonna spend all their time struggling for absolute power and finding the best balance for schedules, then that would be really sad. I like the idea of using an IPL-like model to spread the game and I hope it kicks off soon, so that T-20 can make a significant debut at the 2020 Olympics. As for being a sceptic on the Olympics... haven't cricketers been banned for using illegal substances? Haven't there been allegations of match-fixing and cheating by umpires in the past? Why is Zimbabwe still a Full Member.. he Olympics needn't serve as an entry to the US and Chinese markets. Why was baseball part of the Olympics for so long? I'm pretty sure that any cricketer would prefer a game in the Olympics to any other international match.

  • Supratik on August 17, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    The incomparable IMC at his best. Only Chappell could have written this piece, while the ICC, BCCI and other authorities continue their myopic vision. He may be fire and brimstone, but most of the time talks sense. The great game is becoming a caricature. Someone please take heed of this advice.

  • siddharthh on August 17, 2008, 5:23 GMT

    Whether the game gains in popularity or not, one cannot deny that there will be more publicity for it, for no stage is bigger than the Olympics. The Olympics are the world's greatest sporting spectacle and why shouldn't cricketers not be a part of it? Is there any good reason why it should not be a part of the Olympics?

  • shrimmyboy on August 17, 2008, 5:16 GMT

    Well said Ian Chappell. There's already enough Twenty20s being played. I'll get sick of cricket if I see more of it. But cricket and Olympics doesn't somehow make a nice combination. There are nine Test playing nations and its unlikely that the Olympics will be held in at least half of them after the year 2020.

  • deathstrike on August 17, 2008, 5:03 GMT

    I definitely think that cricket should be included in the Olympics. It will be best to compete in Twenty20 form as it is the shortest of them all. Also there would be more excitement and it can help popularize cricket as worldwide sport.

  • arya_underfoot on August 17, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    Ian, while I agree with all your arguments, I think cricket has to be part of the Olympics. Cricket is the only major global sport (along with Rugby Union) not to feature in the Olympics. Cricket deserves to be recognised. If the cluttered international schedule is a problem, we should follow FIFA's example and make Olympic cricket a youth competition. After all, the encouragement of youth is only way forward for cricket.

  • don69 on August 17, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    I agree. Cricket at the Olympics will not give the sport any more exposure while it could lead to accusations against the few nations who do play it at professional level.Look at ockey. Look at baseball. Look at badminton. These are all localised sports with a broad fan base in just a few countries. Sure those countries treat the competition as a major event - but does anyone else?

    I was in Europe during the badminton finals - which I know get huge media attention in East Asia. There was absolutely zero coverage - and furthermore - no one cared. Same with baseball. In hockey, there are just 8-10 contenders - no one else cares. It will be the same with cricket.

    I do think Twenty20 cricket should be in the Commonwealth Games - and possibly that could be stepping stone to the Olympics - in maybe 20 or 30 years time, if enough countries adopt it as a major sport.

  • Linas on August 17, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    Ian, you seem to be very concerned that cricket may not have a market in USA or China. I live in the USA and here TV coverage is given to only those events in which the US has medal expectations/chances.

    Is a good market the only criteria for inclusion into Olympics? Also does a sport have to guarantee American/Chinese champions to be included into Olympics? Sports like fencing, trampoline, beach volleyball, handball, softball and judo are part of Olympics! How big of a market do these sports have? These sports are not universally played. Is cricket a lesser sport than any of these?

    Here in the US, most people haven't even seen a cricket game. Cricket needs as many platforms as possible to showcase itself. As a stalwart of the game, you are influential and I am surprised you want to keep the game within the Commonwealth countries.

  • NakibAhmed on August 17, 2008, 4:16 GMT

    I absolutely agree with Mr.Chappell's point of view. Cricket had entered a new era after the immense exposure of the Twenty20 format,and it is obviously the key to globalising the game.The ICC and International players should understand cricket is still not as well known around the world yet, it is the ICC's job to spread and bloom interest in non-cricket playing countries. It is only after they think that cricket is has established itself as a global sport, should the game be displayed on the world's biggest sporting stage.

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  • NakibAhmed on August 17, 2008, 4:16 GMT

    I absolutely agree with Mr.Chappell's point of view. Cricket had entered a new era after the immense exposure of the Twenty20 format,and it is obviously the key to globalising the game.The ICC and International players should understand cricket is still not as well known around the world yet, it is the ICC's job to spread and bloom interest in non-cricket playing countries. It is only after they think that cricket is has established itself as a global sport, should the game be displayed on the world's biggest sporting stage.

  • Linas on August 17, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    Ian, you seem to be very concerned that cricket may not have a market in USA or China. I live in the USA and here TV coverage is given to only those events in which the US has medal expectations/chances.

    Is a good market the only criteria for inclusion into Olympics? Also does a sport have to guarantee American/Chinese champions to be included into Olympics? Sports like fencing, trampoline, beach volleyball, handball, softball and judo are part of Olympics! How big of a market do these sports have? These sports are not universally played. Is cricket a lesser sport than any of these?

    Here in the US, most people haven't even seen a cricket game. Cricket needs as many platforms as possible to showcase itself. As a stalwart of the game, you are influential and I am surprised you want to keep the game within the Commonwealth countries.

  • don69 on August 17, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    I agree. Cricket at the Olympics will not give the sport any more exposure while it could lead to accusations against the few nations who do play it at professional level.Look at ockey. Look at baseball. Look at badminton. These are all localised sports with a broad fan base in just a few countries. Sure those countries treat the competition as a major event - but does anyone else?

    I was in Europe during the badminton finals - which I know get huge media attention in East Asia. There was absolutely zero coverage - and furthermore - no one cared. Same with baseball. In hockey, there are just 8-10 contenders - no one else cares. It will be the same with cricket.

    I do think Twenty20 cricket should be in the Commonwealth Games - and possibly that could be stepping stone to the Olympics - in maybe 20 or 30 years time, if enough countries adopt it as a major sport.

  • arya_underfoot on August 17, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    Ian, while I agree with all your arguments, I think cricket has to be part of the Olympics. Cricket is the only major global sport (along with Rugby Union) not to feature in the Olympics. Cricket deserves to be recognised. If the cluttered international schedule is a problem, we should follow FIFA's example and make Olympic cricket a youth competition. After all, the encouragement of youth is only way forward for cricket.

  • deathstrike on August 17, 2008, 5:03 GMT

    I definitely think that cricket should be included in the Olympics. It will be best to compete in Twenty20 form as it is the shortest of them all. Also there would be more excitement and it can help popularize cricket as worldwide sport.

  • shrimmyboy on August 17, 2008, 5:16 GMT

    Well said Ian Chappell. There's already enough Twenty20s being played. I'll get sick of cricket if I see more of it. But cricket and Olympics doesn't somehow make a nice combination. There are nine Test playing nations and its unlikely that the Olympics will be held in at least half of them after the year 2020.

  • siddharthh on August 17, 2008, 5:23 GMT

    Whether the game gains in popularity or not, one cannot deny that there will be more publicity for it, for no stage is bigger than the Olympics. The Olympics are the world's greatest sporting spectacle and why shouldn't cricketers not be a part of it? Is there any good reason why it should not be a part of the Olympics?

  • Supratik on August 17, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    The incomparable IMC at his best. Only Chappell could have written this piece, while the ICC, BCCI and other authorities continue their myopic vision. He may be fire and brimstone, but most of the time talks sense. The great game is becoming a caricature. Someone please take heed of this advice.

  • Anjo on August 17, 2008, 6:09 GMT

    They're talking about 2020, and thats 12 years away. If the administrators don't have plans to globalise the game by then, and if they're gonna spend all their time struggling for absolute power and finding the best balance for schedules, then that would be really sad. I like the idea of using an IPL-like model to spread the game and I hope it kicks off soon, so that T-20 can make a significant debut at the 2020 Olympics. As for being a sceptic on the Olympics... haven't cricketers been banned for using illegal substances? Haven't there been allegations of match-fixing and cheating by umpires in the past? Why is Zimbabwe still a Full Member.. he Olympics needn't serve as an entry to the US and Chinese markets. Why was baseball part of the Olympics for so long? I'm pretty sure that any cricketer would prefer a game in the Olympics to any other international match.

  • VenkatAnanth on August 17, 2008, 6:35 GMT

    I think the game needs to be globalised before being included in the Olympics. I agree with Chappell, that if cricket was included in the 1998 Commonwealth, it should have been a part of the 2002 and perhaps the 2006 edition as well, since those two editions were played in countries that have been playing cricket for ages. To popularise the game in countries like USA and China, it will take time. It will not be easy, but one of the advantages about countries like China is that they take up to the game ever so quickly, learn the tactics, the strategies and the mechanics involved. Once we achieve that, I think we must see cricket in the Games. Having said that, cricket is played by just 10 nations. You see a niche Japanese sport like Judo being taken up by countries like Portugal and Azerbaijan and that makes you wonder if the ICC is doing its bit in promoting the game off the shores of the 20 or so countries who actually play the game seriously (Associates included).