ECB open to Oly cricket, says chief executive
England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison’s comments came on the same day as a protest outside The Oval ahead of the start of the fifth Ashes Test slammed global cricket bosses for, among other things, turning their back on the Olympics.
Rugby Union, a sport which like cricket owes its international development to the British Empire but whose major nations now include France and Argentina, will see sevens, its nearest equivalent to Twenty20, make its Olympic debut at next year’s Games in Rio. But cricket officials have so turned their back on Olympic involvement, with England often seen as the major stumbling block given the Games traditionally cut across their own season.
“At a time when every other sport wants to expand, the ICC (International Cricket Council) is actually shrinking the Cricket World Cup and doesn’t want to participate in the Olympics,” said Oval protest organiser Sam Collins of the #changecricket campaign.
But Harrison insisted the ECB were open to Olympic cricket. “I think cricket should have the debate about Olympic representation,” Harrison said in an interview with BBC Radio’s Test Match Special on Thursday.
“It does throw up serious questions for us with our season straddling when a summer Olympics takes <g data-gr-id="26">place</g> but these are questions we should ask and understand.
“England is often seen as a barrier to this <g data-gr-id="29">discussion</g> but that’s simply not the case. If you do have a successful Olympic movement for your sport it can be transformative.”
Earlier, dozens of demonstrators gathered outside The Oval in protest against the way in which world
cricket is now run.