Commonwealth Cricket, Why Not?

The Commonwealth games have just kicked off, and this year Glasgow are hosting the plethora of sporting events. The Commonwealth games, although inferior to the Olympic Games, still successfully airs sport around the globe, introducing new events to the estimated 1 billion viewers. I will undoubtedly be transfixed by the majority of sports during these games as I am every time a large scale multisport event comes along. The weightlifting will force me to the edge of my seat and during the judo I’ll be cheering for an ipoon. Despite this, I would never think about watching these sports away from the Olympics or Commonwealth games. I can’t help but get the feeling that cricket, a far more interesting sport than most of the events currently featuring in the Commonwealth games, is missing out.

It’s not as though the Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) doesn’t want cricket, rather it’s the ICC that doesn’t want the commonwealth games, hence the rejection of the invitation to the 2018 Commonwealth games. There are worries that participation in the Commonwealth games will clash with the international schedule and domestic competitions. But surely the benefits of competing in the commonwealth games and showcasing cricket to the world far outweigh the few inconveniences caused by the timing of the event. After all it’s only a couple of weeks that need to be cleared of international cricket to allow cricketers to compete. One of the aims of the ICC is to raise the profile of cricket and there’s no easier and cost effective way. Also, with the growth in associate teams in recent times, the tournament would certainly be competitive and only serve to help the weaker sides by giving them more opportunities to play the test nations.

Interestingly, cricket has already made its debut at the Commonwealth games in Malaysia 1998. On that occasion 16 teams competed in 50 over matches. South Africa won gold, Australia silver and New Zealand took the bronze. However, it seems not all nations saw the tournament as paramount importance, with India and Pakistan turning up with weakened sides and England refusing to send a team at all. Deemed as a failure, It was dropped for Manchester 2002 and is still awaiting a return.

With the mass appeal of T20 cricket of late, the shorter format of the game is clearly the best option for a large tournament. To become reality and for the tournament to be a complete success, all the international cricket boards must support crickets advent to the commonwealth games. If the test playing nations were to send weakened teams then it would damage the anticipation and quality of the event. If all participating countries were to send full strength sides, the cricket would take care of itself and spread crickets appeal around the world.

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