Cricket's Olympic future still unclear

Cricket has little chance of being added to the Olympic Games before 2032, according to two of Britain's four current International Olympic Committee members.

The sport has only featured in one Olympics so far, the 1900 Games in Paris, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) is understood to be close to announcing a formal application to join the programme for 2024.

Earlier this year, ICC chief executive David Richardson told Press Association Sport a decision would have to be reached by the end of July and the "time was right" for cricket to make a concerted push for Olympic inclusion.

However, International Olympic Commitee (IOC) members Sir Craig Reedie and Adam Pengilly believe cricket's road to an Olympic return will be long, with several significant obstacles.

Reedie said: "I don't think cricket has any chance in 2024 or 2028 because neither of the hosts, Paris and Los Angeles, will be very interested and the sport isn't top of the list of those waiting for a chance.

"That said, India is the biggest reason for bringing cricket in and the Games are driven by television, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility but I would suggest 2032 is a more realistic timescale."

Reedie, a former chairman of the British Olympic Association and current World Anti-Doping Agency president, has been an IOC member since 1994.

Pengilly, a two-time winter Olympian who joined the IOC in 2010 as part of the athletes' commission, said the prospect of India - or Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan or Sri Lanka - winning a medal would help cricket's cause but was not overly optimistic about its chances of joining any time soon.

"New nations winning medals is good, that worked really well for mixed curling, for example," said Pengilly.

"But I think there are still too many factors working against cricket: it's not global, it's not particularly 'youth' and it doesn't meet many of the key Olympic themes.

"If the next host was Australia, it might have a chance, but France and the US don't play much cricket, and I can't see there being much support in countries that don't play cricket."