The Indian cricket teams’ entry in the Olympics received a green signal from the BCCI on Friday. In the virtual meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Apex Council, it agreed to send its men’s and women’s teams if cricket is a part of the 2028 Los Angeles Games provided there is no interference from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

The BCCI hadn’t taken any decision on participation in the Olympics till now. Their last appearance in any major multi-sport event was back at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The BCCI also agreed to field its women’s team at the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham in 2022.

“The members felt that just like tennis sends individual entries and IOA has no control in the matter, BCCI should also send its teams without any interference from the IOA. The BCCI is going to communicate its decision to the International Cricket Council (ICC),” a board official told The Indian Express.

If everything goes to plan, the Indian cricket teams will play at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics in an T20 event.

The ICC had formed a committee in December to suggest ways for cricket’s inclusion at Los Angeles 2028. The panel told the Apex Council that cricket is played in 75 countries and argued that it’s the right time for India to expand its presence on the world map.

The move may also provide India an opportunity to increase its medal tally at the Olympics as both its men’s and women’s teams are among the strongest outfits in the game. It would be a win-win situation as the Olympics will gain a huge fan base and viewer interest, especially in the Indian subcontinent. But cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics will require some scheduling tweaks and finding a window during the Games.

Venues for T20 World Cup

Meanwhile, the BCCI has shortlisted nine venues which will hold the T20 World Cup later this year. The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will host the final while Kolkata’s Eden Gardens will stage one semi-final, while the venue for the other one has not been decided yet. The other shortlisted venues are Dharamsala, Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore and Lucknow. The board will approach the Home Ministry to get clarity on visas issues. It is learnt that Pakistan will play most of their games in the northern part of India where, the board feels, there is less likelihood of any trouble or protests against them.

Legal opinion sought on Bihar T20 league

The BCCI has asked for legal opinion on Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) which decided to conduct its inaugural franchise-based T20 league without taking permission from the board. The BCCI had sent a notice to BCA last month, seeking an unconditional apology. The BCCI wants to do away with franchise-based T20 cricket tournaments organised by state associations, especially after its anti-corruption unit raised a red flag on these leagues. But the BCCI has made an exemption in the case of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association which had requested for it to be allowed to host its T20 tournament from June this year. The Apex Council will discuss in its next meeting how to prevent these franchise-based tournaments.

More tours for women’s team

The BCCI has decided to have more overseas tours for its women’s team before they play the T20 World Cup in New Zealand next year. The BCCI will plan three overseas tours for the team and also advertise to fill positions in its support staff in the coming days.

No discussion on compensation

The Apex Council didn’t have a discussion on compensation to players and officials who missed out on cricket due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The BCCI had earlier promised that a plan will be in place and compensation will be given to each individual after the board went ahead with a severely-curtailed domestic season this year.

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