Development of the women's game and other reasons why cricket in the Olympic Games is a good idea

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Cricket was last played in the Olympics in the 1900 Paris Games and it could be set to make a return in the 2024 Olympics in the same city if all goes to plan.

That is, if the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) gives the green light for India’s participation.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been clamouring for cricket’s inclusion in the Games for some time now and it seems that all that stands in the way of the event becoming a reality is for the BCCI to give its stamp of approval.

While the Indian cricket governing body remains non committal on the issue as it weighs up its own pros and cons, we take a look at the reasons why cricket should be included in the Olympics.

Expanding the reach of cricket to China and co

Having the sport included in the summer games would give cricket a much needed fillip to expand the sport in previously uncharted territories.

One of the major payoffs of the gambit would be the acceleration of the development of the game in China. Currently, the Chinese Cricket Association relies solely on the limited amount of funds provided by the ICC and the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).

Nothing drives China more than Games gold, though, and there have been several indications that an Olympic inclusion would see millions poured into the game’s development, similar to the injection Rugby received in the country after it was declared an Olympic sport.

Not only China, many more Associate and Affiliate members of the ICC would receive greater funding from their respective governments.

China's cricket potential remains untapped at the moment.

China’s cricket potential remains untapped at the moment.

The advent of Twenty20 cricket provides cricket with the right vehicle

While it has been over a 100 years since the last time cricket was included in the Olympics, there have been numerous attempts to re-introduce the sport to the summer extravaganza.

However, the format of the game has remained a major sticking point for the organisers and the ICC alike. While the five-day format of the game understandably remains a no go for the Olympics, the 50 over version of the sport presents its own set of logistical problems for the organisers.

A single seven to eight hours One Day International (ODI) would multiply the number of cricket venues needed for the summer meet which is typically concluded in the span of two to three weeks.

With the advent of the Twenty20 format, cricket has the perfect vehicle to make the sport an Olympic success.

A three hour match would drastically reduce the logistical requirements while also providing newer audiences with a much more tighter and entertaining package.

The development of Women’s Cricket

The recent success of the ICC Women’s World Cup in England has highlighted the developments done to the female version of the sport in recent times.

While Australia and England continue to lead the way in women’s cricket, India’s run to the final has provided a major boost to the sport back home.

With the popularity of the women’s game at an all-time high, an Olympic inclusion would be the perfect opportunity to cement the new found interest in the game.

A women’s competition running parallel to the men’s competition in an event as widely covered as the Olympics would bring much needed attention in raising the profile and awareness about the game.

An Olympics spot could lead to newer funding from national governments and sporting bodies alike to the women who have struggled to complete financially compared to their male counterparts.

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Make the most of Stokes and four other key talking points ahead of fourth Test between England and South Africa

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England head into Friday’s fourth Test against South Africa at Old Trafford with a 2-1 series lead after a 239-run victory at The Oval.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the talking points ahead of the final clash against the Proteas.

MAKE THE MOST OF STOKES

It is Stuart Broad’s fault this time that Ben Stokes is again fielding comparisons to Andrew Flintoff. In mitigation, you can see why Broad said what he did after his team-mate’s second-innings spell against South Africa.

Some elements of it – appeals and celebrations included – took many instantly back to 2009 and before. Stokes is diplomatic to acknowledge the chat with good grace, and move on. He wants to do it his way – and at this stage of his career, he is shaping up to be England’s best all-rounder of this century for sure.

Injuries may well take their toll as they did with Flintoff but, before then, England supporters should treasure his presence and look forward to more match-winning deeds with bat and ball.

Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes.

MALAN DESERVES MORE CHANCES

Dawid Malan was conspicuous among England’s three debutants as the one who failed to come up with a notable performance. There were eight wickets for Toby Roland-Jones, and a half-century for Tom Westley, but fate was not on Malan’s side at The Oval.

He attracted a fantastic delivery after trying his best to combat tough conditions in the first innings, and was then a hostage to fortune as England went after quick runs before their declaration second time round. No one should judge him on either effort, more so from the evidence to hand on his June Twenty20 debut which so impressed coach Trevor Bayliss.

At 29, Malan has had to wait for his chance and can only hope – after a marginal punt on the balance of the team in the third Investec Test – that Joe Root sees things the same way in Manchester.

Dawid Malan

Dawid Malan.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED WITH ENGLAND

Extra batsman or not, England are devilishly hard to predict. “We’ve not done things by halves so far in this series,” said a slightly rueful Root even in the glow of victory at The Oval.

It is an understatement, following two victories by a combined 450 runs – either side of a defeat by 340. England are up against highly-capable opponents who have also gone to extremes, of course – so it’s anybody’s guess what may pan out in Manchester from Friday onwards.

Alastair Cook (L) walks back after being bowled by Morne Morkel.

Alastair Cook (L) walks back after being bowled by Morne Morkel.

SOUTH AFRICA ARE NO MUGS – WHATEVER THE EXPERTS SAY

Root acknowledged, before and after England’s win at The Oval, that some of the high-profile criticism of England’s faulty gung-ho cricket in Nottingham was reasonable and constructive. England certainly batted very differently, and successfully, in London.

Whatever your take on some of the most damning soundbites, it is hard to entirely refute the broad point that England’s batsmen cannot always be counter-attacking one-trick ponies – it will only work some of the time in Test cricket. It is easier to take issue with some pundits’ remarks after England had won at Lord’s – calling for a 4-0 series whitewash at all costs.

They were sweeping comments which badly underestimated opponents easily up to giving their hosts a proper game or, as we discovered in the midlands, thrashing them if they took their eye off the ball.

South Africa celebrate the fall of Jonny Bairstow's wicket.

South Africa celebrate the fall of Jonny Bairstow’s wicket.

ONE LAST ASHES QUALIFIER?

It does not do to underestimate South Africa then, yet it is equally hard to anticipate a stern examination from this summer’s second Test tourists. It is a long time since West Indies were competitive – still longer since they were invincible – in English conditions.

Whoever comes through the Manchester Test with reputation intact or enhanced, and fitness assured, can hope to prosper in three Tests against the Windies – and so have one foot on the plane to Australia this winter already.

Joe Root

Joe Root.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Moeen Ali becomes latest England player to take a Test hat-trick - A look back at all 14 instances

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Moeen Ali leads the England team off the field after his hat-trick.

Moeen Ali claimed the 14th hat-trick by an England player in Test cricket as the hosts beat South Africa by 239 runs at The Oval.

Here, Press Association Sport looks back on those occasions when an England bowler ripped through the opposition line-up by taking three wickets in as many balls.

BILLY BATES (v Australia, 1883)

Yorkshire off-spinner Bates claimed the first hat-trick by an Englishman en route to figures of seven for 28 as Australia were thrashed by an innings. However, Bates’ playing career ended suddenly four years later when a ball hit him in the eye during a net session.

JOHNNY BRIGGS (v Australia, 1892)

Like Moeen, Briggs wrapped up the innings by taking the last three wickets in as many balls, although the left-arm spinner’s efforts could not prevent Australia winning the Sydney Test by 72 runs. Briggs died in 1902 aged 39 after an epileptic seizure.

GEORGE LOHMANN (v South Africa, 1896)

Surrey seamer Lohmann took 112 Test wickets at an average of just 10.75, although none arrived quicker than those taken in the second innings against the Proteas at Port Elizabeth. Lohmann finished with match figures of 15 for 45 but died just five years later of tuberculosis.

JACK HEARNE (v Australia, 1899)

Hearne dismissed the notable Australia trio Clem Hill, Syd Gregory and Monty Noble with successive deliveries at Headingley to claim the first hat-trick on English soil. However, England were unable to force a series-levelling victory in the game as the match was drawn, with Australia retaining the Ashes.

MAURICE ALLOM (v New Zealand, 1930)

Allom was making his Test debut in Christchurch and achieved his hat-trick in only his eighth over. The Surrey seamer had already bowled Stewart Dempster with the second ball of the over before sending Tom Lowry, Ken James and Ted Badcock back to the pavilion with the fourth, fifth and sixth deliveries. England went on to win by eight wickets.

TOM GODDARD (v South Africa, 1938)

Off-spinner Goddard took six hat-tricks in his career, the most notable coming in Johannesburg on Boxing Day. South Africa salvaged a draw, but England won the series 1-0 after the famous timeless Test in Durban – where the tourists had to leave after nine days play to catch their boat home.

PETER LOADER (v West Indies, 1957)

Surrey quick Loader secured England’s first post-war hat-trick at Headingley, bowling John Goddard and having Sonny Ramadhin caught by Fred Trueman. Roy Gilchrist then had his stumps rearranged as Loader took six for 36 to help England win by an innings and five runs.

DOMINIC CORK (v West Indies, 1995)

Cork sent the Old Trafford crowd into raptures as he induced Richie Richardson into playing on before pinning Junior Murray lbw. Carl Hooper then missed a straight one and was given leg-before and England went on to secure a series-levelling victory.

Dominic Cork celebrates after picking up a hat-trick against West Indies in 1995.

Dominic Cork celebrates after taking a hat-trick against West Indies in 1995.

DARREN GOUGH (v Australia, 1999)

England needed victory in the fifth Test at Sydney to draw the series and Gough gave them a chance by having Ian Healy caught behind, bowling Stuart MacGill with an inswinging yorker and then bowling Colin Miller with another full delivery. However, MacGill had the last laugh as he took seven for 50 in the fourth innings to secure a 96-run win for Australia.

Darren Gough is congratulated by teammates after his hat-trick against Australia in 1999.

Darren Gough is congratulated by teammates after his hat-trick against Australia in 1999.

MATTHEW HOGGARD (v West Indies, 2004)

England’s 2004 tour of the West Indies is primarily remembered for Steve Harmison’s remarkable spell of seven for 12 and Brian Lara’s unbeaten 400. In between those feats Hoggard registered a hat-trick in Barbados, having Ramnaresh Sarwan caught at point, Shivnarine Chanderpaul trapped lbw and Ryan Hinds held at second slip.

Matthew Hoggard celebrates after taking a hat-trick against West Indies in 2004.

Matthew Hoggard celebrates after taking a hat-trick against West Indies in 2004.

RYAN SIDEBOTTOM (v New Zealand, 2008)

England lost the first Test in Hamilton, but Sidebottom eventually helped them bounce back and win the series with 24 wickets. Three of those came in as many deliveries in the opener, as the left-hander had Stephen Fleming and Mathew Sinclair brilliantly held by Alastair Cook before trapping Jacob Oram lbw.

Ryan Sidebottom celebrates after taking a hat-trick against New Zealand in 2008.

Ryan Sidebottom celebrates after taking a hat-trick against New Zealand in 2008.

STUART BROAD (v India, 2011)

The only Englishman with two Test hat-tricks. Broad had MS Dhoni caught at second slip, Harbhajan Singh given lbw despite an inside edge and bowling Praveen Kumar. The spell swung the second Test at Trent Bridge in England’s favour and they went on to complete a 4-0 series whitewash.

Stuart Broad celebrates after taking a hat-trick against India in 2011.

Stuart Broad celebrates after taking a hat-trick against India in 2011.

STUART BROAD (v Sri Lanka, 2014)

Broad repeated the feat three years later, snaffling Kumar Sangakkara with the last ball of one over before having Dinesh Chandimal caught at slip with his first ball of the next. Shaminda Eranga nicked the next delivery, although Broad did not realise he had taken a hat-trick – nor did the crowd – until an announcement was made by the Headingley announcer.

Stuart Broad leads the England team off the field after his hat-trick against Sri Lanka in 2014.

Stuart Broad leads the England team off the field after his hat-trick against Sri Lanka in 2014.

MOEEN ALI (v South Africa, 2017)

Moeen ended Dean Elgar’s stubborn resistance, as Ben Stokes caught the opener at slip for 136, before dismissing Kagiso Rabada in identical fashion and having Morne Morkel given lbw after a review to complete the first Test hat-trick at the Oval in the venue’s 100th Test. It also gave England a 2-1 series lead.

(Provided by Press Association)

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