Irish cricketers could end up playing for Great Britain team at 2028 Olympics, if sport is confirmed as being included at Los Angeles Games this week

  • There is pressure on numbers in Olympic village, meaning fewer teams included
  • ICC’s T20 rankings could determine which sides are able to play 
  • So Ireland’s players may walk out for Great Britain if cricket is ratified for Games 

Irish cricketers could end up representing Great Britain at the 2028 Olympics if the sport’s proposed inclusion at the Los Angeles Games is ratified this week.

The structure of an Olympics cricket tournament is still to be confirmed, with the ICC pushing for men’s and women’s competitions involving eight teams each.

But with pressure on numbers in the Olympic village, that figure could drop to six – and they would be determined by the ICC’s T20 rankings at a cut-off point to be decided.

England currently sit second but, with Ireland languishing in 12th, it may be that the only route into the Games for their Northern Irish contingent will be to walk out for Great Britain.

Of the Ireland team who played a rain-affected ODI series in England last month, opener Paul Stirling (from Belfast), off-spinner Andy McBrine (Londonderry), and seamers Craig Young (Londonderry) and Mark Adair (Holywood) were all born in Ulster – though only Adair is the right side of 30.

Paul Stirling and the Irish players could end up representing Great Britain at the Olympics

A similar choice was faced by golfer Rory McIlroy (Holywood) ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He opted for Ireland.

The qualification process could be complicated by a desire to involve the hosts, with the USA’s T20 team currently ranked 22nd in the men’s rankings, between Hong Kong and Uganda.

One possibility would be to allow the Americans to take part if they reach the top 12 by the cut-off point – though again it may depend on whether six or eight teams are allowed to participate.

With the Caribbean islands sending separate teams to the Olympics, West Indies may need to finish in the top six to trigger an intra-island qualification tournament. They are currently seventh in the men’s table and sixth in the women’s.

The decision over whether to include cricket – along with baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse and squash – in Los Angeles will be reviewed by the International Olympic Committee in Mumbai this week.

Los Angeles plays host to the 2028 Olympics and cricket looks set for inclusion

Los Angeles plays host to the 2028 Olympics and cricket looks set for inclusion