The modern Olympic Games are undoubtedly one of the biggest spectacles in the sporting world. Held every four years, the Olympics has more than 30 sports in its program, and provisions for the inclusion of new sports regularly.
The most recent sports added are baseball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing – all to be a part of Tokyo 2020.
And perhaps, it’s time for cricket to make its way to the Games as well. Here’s why T10 is perhaps the best format to go with:
Expanding cricket’s solitary legacy at the Games
Cricket has not found its presence in the quadrennial event since the one unofficial Test match at the 1900 Olympic Games held in Paris. Teams from France and Great Britain took part in the two-day match, which was the only time cricket was played in the Olympics.
However, cricket has been a part of multi-sport events since. The South African cricket team claimed a gold medal in the 1998 Commonwealth Games, played in One Day International (ODI) format, and now it will make an appearance at the 2022 CWG in the T20 format (women’s only). The progression has been towards shorter events and T10 fits the bill just right.
Big names back the shortest format
There are four formats of cricket being played at the moment. But several leading cricketers have backed the T10 format, calling it the most entertaining one.
“It’s the shortest format of cricket and the most exciting,” said 2019 ICC World Cup-winning England cricket team captain Eoin Morgan. “The potential that this format has is astronomical. It is our best format.”
Other names that feel T10 is a solid format include Shahid Afridi, Virender Sehwag and most recently, Chris Gayle.
“I would absolutely love to see T10 within the Olympics. It would be something huge for the sport from a general point of view,” said veteral and legend Chris Gayle.
In the limited-overs format, the aforementioned four have played 1,192 ODIs and 1,199 T20 matches between them, so we reckon they know what they are talking about.
A format that is quick and doable
It’s not just the entertainment factor that makes T10 an exciting prospect. Being a shorter format, its logistical demands are also not as challenging, making it easier to organise at the Olympics, where several events take place simultaneously.
For instance, The Abu Dhabi T10 will conduct 29 matches between eight teams in just 10 days this season — at just one venue. That’s about three matches a day, which means audiences can witness 66 players in action.
“You can start and finish an eight-to-ten-team tournament within 12 days. You can’t do that in T20 cricket, it’s not feasible,” observed Eoin Morgan.
Another feature that works in the favour of T10 is the time taken to complete a match. One-Day Internationals take around nine hours to finish, while T20s take more than three hours. However, T10 gets results in 90 minutes, which is close to the game time of popular team sports like football, basketball, hockey and even Formula 1.
“Cricket should always evolve and look at ways to maintain the excitement among youngsters,” Shahid Afridi had declared. “And I think the Abu Dhabi T10 provides us a great opportunity to keep testing the format.”
It has been blessed by the ICC
The Abu Dhabi T10 is the only 10-over tournament which has been sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC). It shows the governing body of the sport, which will bid for cricket’s inclusion at the Los Angeles 2028 Games, is willing to accept a new format.
“More nations can play T10 (over other formats),” reckoned Virender Sehwag. “Now the ICC has to think if they want to take this to the International Olympic Association (Committee) or not. All the smaller nations who are playing four-day matches, One-Day or T20 matches, they can play T10 and cricket can be part of the Olympics as well,” he added.