While most cricket fans have been watching the Olympics in order to engage in sports betting, a lucky few got to catch sight of Sachin Tendulkar in Rio. Tendulkar, of course, is a former Indian cricketer and national captain and is often regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the sport. Seeing the sight of such an influential cricketer raised obvious questions for fans of the sport. The most obvious being, what chances are there for cricket to become an Olympic sport?
Tendulkar’s tenure in Rio was attributed to his duties as serving goodwill ambassador for the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Therefore his time in Brazil was spent mostly on hyping up India’s athletes and mingling with the higher ups of the Olympic Family. The Olympic Family are current members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC is the reigning body of the Olympics; they both own and manage the biannual Games of Olympiad. It’s no secret why Tendulkar was trying to build relationship with the Olympic Family as their members are treated as heads-of-state by the city hosting the Olympics.
However, this shouldn’t force sports betting fans to abandon all hope of seeing cricket in the Olympics. Brett Gosper, chief executive for World Rugby, went on record talking about Tendulkar’s interest in Rugby sevens. Gosper specifically said that Tendulkar sat with him to watch an entire session of Rugby, stating afterwards that Tendulkar “loved it and was interested in rugby’s journey to the Olympics and why that’s an interesting prospect, possibly, for cricket.”
This is definitely good news for sports betting websites looking to put together some Olympic cricket lines. Rugby sevens is a shorter form or a rugby match that is ideal for Olympic competitions because games don’t need to take up as much time. The Olympics only run for a certain amount of time and once they start they are jam packed with different events.
This is the biggest issue facing cricketers who want to compete in the Olympics. Cricket test matches can go on for several days and the Olympics just don’t have that amount of time to spare. Even considering Twenty20, which is the shortest type of cricket match, those games still take three and a half hours. With all the other events the Olympics has to account for, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to accommodate such a time-consuming sport.
Another factor that inhibits cricket’s migration into the Olympics is the fact that Olympic events are geared to be won by whoever is “Faster, Higher, Stronger” and that is just not the case in cricket. Cricket is a sport for gentlemen and is not about dominating the opponent. Both sides are expected to perform well, with one team just being a tad bit better. Cricket is won by outthinking the opponent and playing better technically, not by being a better athlete. Another problem is that some international cricket teams represent more than one country. Take the English cricket team for example; they represent both England and Wales. Trying to split these players would certainly create some tensions. While there’s still a long way to go before it happens, we can all dream of one day seeing all the top sportsbooks hosting betting lines for Olympic cricket.