The T10 format could be a means of returning cricket to the Olympics, as the ICC boosts interest


ECB. BCCI accepts the benefits of global exposure after initial resistance to Olympic participation

The return of cricket to the Olympics is approaching, with the possibility that it can do so in T10 format. This came after the International Criminal Court’s meetings for the new calendar from 2023 onwards, held last week, with the BCCI and the ECB, two key committees in any push, demonstrating a renewed commitment to exploring ways to achieve this.

Both the ECB and the BCCI have had reservations about the sport’s participation in the tournament in the past. However, it is understood that Tom Harrison, the ECB’s Executive Director, raised the issue at last week’s meetings of the ICC’s Board of Executive Directors, which focused on agreeing on an international calendar from 2023 to 2031. The idea was generally well received.

The ICC meeting was followed by a meeting of the BCCI Apex Council, which also gave conditional support to the inclusion of cricket in the Games. The BCCI have long been unconvinced of their need to participate in the Olympics and have been reluctant to cede any authority in the sport to the Indian Olympic Association. At this stage, they seem confident that their strength will not be diluted. BCCI has also confirmed that it will send a women’s team to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022.

Although the Olympic format has yet to be decided – the board of executive directors will meet again in a few weeks and will likely set up a working group to explore the possibilities – there is growing support for the T10 version.

Since the entire tournament was to be squeezed into a window of about 10 days and the desire to use the event to spread the game’s global growth, a shorter format would allow more teams to compete and require less field use. The T10 game usually lasts about 90 minutes. One CEO attending the meeting suggested that “inevitably” the ECB proposed using a 100-ball format. Another insisted that the T20 remains a favored format, arguing that promoting a fourth international format could diminish the long-term value of T20 leagues.