The prospect of a gold medal shimmering in the 2028 Olympics serves as a tantalizing vision for Ash Gardner. Having an overflowing trophy cabinet, the celebrated all-rounder remains mindful that the World Cup triumph still stands as the zenith in their sport.
Cricket forms part of five novel sports earmarked to debut at the 2028 Los Angeles Games — a tournament where six men’s and women’s teams thrash it out in the cricketing format of T20 for the ultimate award.
Given Australia’s commanding track record, they would indubitably be the front-runners in the women’s contest. Their mastery over all victorious tournaments includes a gold medal clinched at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and the distinction of being the No.1 ranked T20 team.
Gardner, ahead of Thursday’s WBBL opener, stated thoughtfully, “Certainly, World Cups will always hold precedence in our sport. With Olympics being a more recent entrant, not enduring an extended history, World Cups would arguably still be the preferred accolade. However, having tasted the sweet victory of a Commonwealth Games gold medal, adding the Olympics equivalent to my collection wouldn’t be particularly displeasing.”
The rising anticipation for the Olympics casting its lens on cricket is undeniable. For Gardner, like most children, the Olympics held a mesmerizing attraction in any sport. However, the thought of achieving that pinnacle in her professional cricketing journey had seemed unreal, making the event’s return to the Olympics all the more exceptional. With a hopeful heart, she aims to be a part of this historical venture.
Similarly, Sydney Thunder’s star player Heather Knight could potentially be a top player in LA, provided she opts to participate. Nevertheless, considering she will be 37 in 2028, her decision remains uncertain. Recollecting her own childhood fascination with the Olympics, Knight views this as an excellent opportunity for cricket to expand its reach.
Interestingly, Great Britain remains the sole gold medalist in cricket from the 1900 Games when they triumphed in the men’s final. The sport’s reintroduction to the Olympics thus marks an exciting time in international cricket, particularly amid an era teeming with cricket tournaments.
For a nation that has secured only two silver medals at the Summer Games, Sri Lanka’s recent achievements paired with the allure of Olympic glory could potentially fuel their drive for competitive progress. Thunder recruit Chamari Athapaththu echoed these sentiments, expressing hopes that good cricketing performances may indeed pave the way for an Olympic silver, or even better, a gold medal for the nation.