Cricket eyeing 2028 Olympic Games as MCC welcome BCCI climbdown

NICK HOWSON AT LORD'S: The sport's law-makers are content with the current regulations including overthrows and the influence of the third umpire

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Cricket is continuing to target a return to the Olympic Games for Los Angeles 2028, the MCC have confirmed.

Following discussions with ICC chief-executive Manu Sawhney during a meeting of the MCC World Cricket committee, a first appearance at the summer games since 1900 remains in the offing.

Key to the campaign is the BCCI's recent decision to affiliate themselves with WADA, which ensures the whole sport's anti-doping practices are overseen by the premier body - a requirement of all Olympic sports.

Women's T20 cricket will be played at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham - its first appearance since 1998 - with matches due to be staged at Edgbaston.

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But a return to the Olympics is now a realistic prospect which would help grow the game tremendously.

"That's what they're working towards at the moment," said chairman Mike Gatting. "That would be a huge bonus for cricket worldwide, it would be fantastic.

"One of the problems which has been negated is the BCCI are afflicted with WADA, which they weren't previously. 

"They've accepted to be a part of that which is step towards the sport being whole which is what you need it to be when you're allying to be in the Olympics."

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The rule which allowed the boundary which followed Ben Stokes' deflected overthrow to stand will remain

The meeting of the World Cricket committee of the MCC, who write and interpret the laws of cricket, saw several regulation changes debated.

However, issues such as overthrows and umpiring mistakes in relation to batsman crossing - which both benefitted England en route to their World Cup success in July - are both set to stay unchanged with the MCC content with the rules as they stand.

Trials for no balls to become automated will resume, as previously announced by the ICC, but it would require a $450,000 investment for technology to take control.

Front-foot no balls will not become punishable by a free-hit after the ICC deemed it would endanger fielders, who under the current regulations are permitted to remain in their positions for the subsequent delivery.

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No balls could yet be removed from the umpire's list of responsibilities

Despite an appeal by committee member Ricky Ponting for neutral umpires in Tests to be scrapped in the wake of the increasing impact of DRS, the MCC insisted "neutrality still works". The ICC's elite panel stands at just 12, with seven coming from either England or Australia.

Also up for debate was the presence of cricket in nations affected by terror attacks and security threats, including Pakistan and Sri Lanka - the latter of whom host England in two Tests next March.

Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara is on the committee and is confident that in the wake of Bangladesh and New Zealand touring the country, that the series will take place.

"The governing and security forces have everything well in hand," he said. "Questions over security level and threat ave been answered and I don't see that changing for the England tour.

"There will be good discussion going ahead, the best arrangements made. We're looking forward to that tour."

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