Saturday, May 25, 2024
HomesportsUS ambassador to India backs cricket to hit LA Olympics for six

US ambassador to India backs cricket to hit LA Olympics for six

MUMBAI – The United States' ambassador to India believes his compatriots will come to share his joy in the "unabashed fun" of Twenty20 cricket when the format features at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

International cricket’s shortest form was approved as one of five new sports for LA 2028 during the International Olympic Committee’s session in Mumbai on Monday.

Flag football, baseball/softball, lacrosse and squash were the others.

Eric Garcetti, a former mayor of Los Angeles, told reporters in Mumbai late Monday that his passion for cricket had grown during his time living in the UK, but blossomed after he took his post in India six months ago.

“I became a real fan when I came here and the T20 format, because it’s so fast,” he said.

“Most of us don’t have a few days to watch a Test match or an entire seven-hour stretch for a World Cup match. But here to see two or three hours of unabashed fun, I’m a convert.”

Cricket’s only previous appearance at the Olympics was during the 1900 Games in Paris, where a team from Great Britain defeated France in a lone match.

“This is a great day for the Olympic movement, a great day for India, a great day for the United States and a great day for cricket fans everywhere,” said Garcetti.

“I think it will ignite a new generation of cricket players and cricket fans… We think that this format is perfect for the Olympics, perfect for cricket, and no better place to launch than here, in the middle of cricket madness.”

The Indian Premier League, featuring the game’s global stars, has cemented India’s position as the unquestioned economic driving force of the sport, thanks to legions of fans and lucrative broadcasting deals in a nation where the game is almost a religion.

Monday’s vote also took place while India stages the men’s 50-over Cricket World Cup.

Major League Cricket, a professional Twenty20 League, launched in the United States in July, with the US a co-host of next year’s men’s T20 World Cup together with territories in the West Indies.

“By the time of the Olympics, not only Major League Cricket will be significant in the US, we’ll have the facilities and the fanbase,” said Garcetti.

On a more serious note, Garcetti voiced his support for the concept of the Olympic truce, amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“The tradition of the Olympics was the Olympic truce,” he said.

“In ancient times, everybody put down their weapons to have sports unite us… So we hope that this inspires people that peace is better than war, that participating together is better than conflict.”

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