'Olympics needs cricket more than cricket needs it': Joy Bhattacharjya

Renowned sports broadcaster Joy Bhattacharjya highlighted the major reasons behind the inclusion of cricket in the 2028 LA Olympics.

Update: 2024-03-20 11:55 GMT

Indian men's cricket team. 

The T20 format of cricket has received wide acceptance among the global audience and landscape, as compared to the two other formats of the game - One-Day International (ODI) and Test.

In a landmark announcement last year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the inclusion of T20 cricket at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics along with squash, lacrosse, flag football, and softball.

Decoding the move by the IOC, renowned cricket analyst, and CEO of the Prime Volleyball League, Joy Bhattacharjya said the Olympics needs cricket more than the other way round.

In an exclusive interview with Arshi Yasin, CEO of The Bridge, Joy said, "The Olympics need cricket more than the cricket needs the Olympics. Cricket has a very strong market wherever it is present. With T20 cricket, they have a competitive product which is just for 3-4 hours, unlike the whole day of ODI and Test cricket."

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The robust South Asian diaspora of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi immigrants is present in almost every major cricketing destination of the world, and that has also been helping cricket to increase its footprints to reach markets. The prime example is the ICC's decision to host the 2024 T20 World Cup in the USA, which is also the host of the LA Olympics in 2028. 

"The widespread South Asian diaspora also caters to this growth with the people settled in different countries taking up the sport of cricket. So, the Olympics can't ignore the fact that one major part of the world believes it to be one of the best sports," he stated.

"For the Olympic movement, to have cricket under its belt is going to be a huge thing," suggested Joy. 

Along with its popularity, the application of cutting-edge technology, Joy said, has made it easier for other countries to adapt to cricket.

"The advanced technology that can make pitches and drop them anywhere has made the sport further accessible. Earlier, if your curator is not there, it was tough to prepare a pitch," remarked Joy.

Joy, however, does not believe cricket's inclusion in the Olympics will significantly change the sport's profile in India. But he says the move will potentially benefit the Olympic movement and cricket's ambition to become a truly global sport. 

"Inclusion of cricket in the Olympics will give India another chance of having an Olympic medal but it won't bring any change in the popularity of the sport in India. However, it will improve the viewership to the global audience of cricket and will get the Olympic movement more eyeballs," he concluded. 

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