The ICC is coy on India’s pledge towards their development of Women Cricket in the upcoming years as they seek approval of the Board of Control for Cricket concerning their Olympics initiative. However, the BCCI remains adamant as ever on their decision as CoA waits for the verdict.
Olympics hasn’t featured Cricket as a sport since the 1900 Paris Games and if reports from Times of India are to be believed then the international governing body is eyeing to reintroduce it in 2024, which is to be held in Paris again.
BCCI’s strict stance on Cricket being a non-Olympic sport has previously prevented the nation from participating in it, and it doesn’t look like changing anytime sooner. And ICC could do little in taking the initiative forward without firm assurances from top sides and players, as directed by the International Olympic Council (IOC).
A source close to ICC said TOI, “The ICC is continuing to explore the possibility of cricket's inclusion in the Olympics and the main thrust of that at present is on convincing the BCCI. But with everything that has happened there over the last few months, it has delayed the process.”
Cricket at Olympics without India remains a huge improbability, as the mammoth market for this sport in the country could give the game a big chance in making the cut in the world tournament. They have already approached the BCCI as the bidding process starts as early as September this year but remain hugely sceptical.
And their concern for India’s Women’s Cricket seems a clever gateway to get BCCI’s consent in this matter. "It certainly would play a big part in the growth of the women's game -so there is an added attraction there," an ICC source said.
Indian cricket, especially women’s, will undoubtedly get massive exposure if the endorsement goes and there is hardly any doubt that India’s Olympic medal cabinet would see a huge influx if that happens. However, BCCI has numerous reasons in not giving their consent as reported.
A senior BCCI functionary stated, “We have heard about the ICC's Olympics initiative but most members are not keen.” Another source said, “We don't know what our status will be if we lose our autonomy. In the present situation, it is absolutely undesirable."
If the final decision has to leave with the members, strong opposition is bound to arise that could compromise the autonomy of the board as it would then come under the purview of the IOA. BCCI remains unsure of the financial gains from India’s participation in Olympics, which would definitely be lesser than a bilateral series played during that period.
However, the most important reason might be the BCCI looking at it as a chance to make things even with ICC. India’s cricket board has received scruffy treatment from the international council on previous occasions and their non-compliance in this matter may return the favour.
The BCCI source added, “The BCCI has been treated very shabbily by the ICC in recent times. Now if they come to us for their own benefits, why would we comply? And we don't even know about the financial aspect of such a big step.”
However, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) is looking into this matter and has reportedly asked Rahul Johri, CEO of BCCI, on the feasibility of cricket in the Olympics.