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ICC CEO Geoff Allardice is confident that cricket will be a great success at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and is hoping the tournament will help boost the chances of the sport appearing at the Olympics in the future.
Allardice is currently in Birmingham for the annual ICC AGM and is using his time in England’s midlands to help celebrate the return of cricket to the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 24 years.
Cricket made its only appearance at a Commonwealth Games way back in 1998, when South Africa claimed the gold medal in a Men’s 50-over event in the Malaysian city of Kuala Lumpur.
This time around it will be purely a Women’s T20 event, with eight teams battling across 10 days at Edgbaston to decide which countries take home the medals.
Allardice is keen to ensure a successful tournament in Birmingham, with a decision looming next year regarding whether cricket will appear at the 2028 summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
“The idea of being here in Birmingham for the annual (ICC) conference is to celebrate cricket’s involvement in the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 24 years (when a men’s 50-over event was held, in Kuala Lumpur) with the women’s T20 event,” Allardice said.
“Judging on the reaction of the players, they all are very excited and enjoying the experience of being around the top athletes from other sports.
“We have declared our ambition to be involved in the Olympic Games.
“We are assisting the LA 2028 organisers and providing any information will help their assessment of different sports with regards to addition to the Olympic programme. But, at this stage, a decision is due next year.”
With the dream of cricket appearing at the Olympics put on the back-burner for the time being, Allardice is hoping a successful tournament in Birmingham will be good for the plight of the game.
“Being in multi-sport games, whether it is the Commonwealth Games or the Asian Games or the African Games, putting cricket into these multisport events is good for the growth of our game,” Allardice said.
“One, it gives a lot of our member countries a seat at the top table for sporting organisations within their country.
“Two, the coverage of these games reaches new audiences that may not be traditional cricket audiences.
“And that is one of opportunities with the Commonwealth Games, that we can reach new audiences.”
Allardice knows the quality of cricket in Birmingham will be high, given how well received the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year was both for a local and global audience around the world.
“I’m sure you have seen in the last five years or so, the quality of our women’s events is outstanding,” he noted.
“The players are great ambassadors for our sport.
“We heard from a number of the (women’s team) captains last night at a panel session, and they are very excited and I’m sure, cricket a star attraction at the Commonwealth Games, which can only leave us in a good position as we look for ambitions moving forward in all other types of multi-sport games.”
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