The England and Wales Cricket Board will play a leading role in paving the way for cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, said ECB CEO Tom Harrison. ICC has officially assembled a bid for cricket, targeting the LA Games.
“I think we will have a leading role. My chairman Ian Watmore is heading the working committee that is working out on cricket’s inclusion in IOC,” said the ECB CEO Tom Harrison while replying to a Hindustan Times query during a virtual interaction.
The only time cricket was a part of the Olympics was way back in 1900 in Paris when Great Britain took on France in a two-day one-off match, which was won by the former. The match was recognised officially only in 1912 and Britain and France got gold and silver medals respectively.
When asked to explain ECB’s role further in speeding up the process, Harrison said it is a big opportunity for cricket’s growth.
“Personally, it is something which I have been pushing for a very long time. It is a big opportunity for cricket to continue its growth. I feel strongly that the role of governing bodies is to grow and protect their respective sports. I think it is such an exciting opportunity for cricket to stretch beyond its usual traditional values. If there is one criticism you can level at cricket is that we have not managed to take the game to many more new territories. It would be wonderful to have European teams other than England competing at senior levels of cricket for trophies,” Harrison, who joined as the CEO of ECB in 2015, said.
“As I have said before, the beauty of cricket is the game itself. It is a very powerful sport and it carries such a force for good. If we are able to package the game in a way it makes sense to people, they will come running towards it. If we provide a sense of belonging to new nations, the game will do the rest,” he added.
Harrison however dodged the question on the format that ICC are looking into for Olympics and whether ECB would push punt in the Hundred’s favour.
“The format the ICC needs to think about over the coming months,” he said.
ECB confident of going ahead with Ashes
There have been concerns over the Ashes this time around after there were reports of Cricket Australia’s decision of not allowing family members of the England players’ on tour may lead some of the top English player pulling out of the historic series.
“All the right conversations are happening at government level in Australia, and we will be using our own diplomatic channels in the UK to ensure that the view of the players and the ECB (is heard),” Harrison said.
“This is not players asking for anything unreasonable, these are very reasonable requests that we are asking the Australian government to give some leniency, frankly.
“It’s going to be important for us to ensure that we can give comfort to players that their families are going to be able to be in Australia and that those conditions in which they are quarantined will be reasonable, enabling the players to be at their best in that Test series,” he continued. “It’s a conversation that’s going to take place over the next few weeks, but I am very confident we will get to a place where we can fulfill our obligations to tour.”
Harrison has played down speculation the Ashes could be postponed by a year to allow England fans to attend. He also cannot see England players sitting out the tour if loved ones were not permitted to travel.
“The Ashes is so important to global cricket, much like an England-India series, but even more so in certain parts of the world and for global cricket fans,” he said. “We never want to compromise the integrity of the series for any reason. Cricket Australia understand this, just as well as we do.
Watch England vs India – 2nd Test, LIVE from 3.30 pm IST on SONY SIX (English) channels on August 12-16, 2021