However, the actual possibility of a new Cold War in 2023 remains very slim. Why is that?
Great projects, it is said, are often marked by small beginnings, like a third, not-yet proposed bridge across the Hooghly River could perhaps get worked initially on with a humble brick being laid somewhere. It is the same with the Olympic Games. As weinch up to Paris 2024, where our own Neeraj Chopra vows to wow the world again with his extraordinary javelin-throwing skills, television is perhaps a little morose, given that its Indian takings from the putative greatest show on earth, even if a few other of his compatriots get in on the medal-winning act, are unlikely to assume elephantine proportions. Regardless of how much, or little, gets picked up next year from this land, it will be ten times more when Twenty20 cricket finds its way into the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 with Indians at home expected to be the overwhelming majority of viewers.
Cricket beamed from the USA is calculated to yield dollars way above the dreams of avarice, the scene set already to an extent by the American league with next year’s T20 World Cup to be shared with the West Indies and permitting Florida, Dallas, North Carolina and New York their season in the sun with match-staging glory. Brisbane in 2032 is counted on to do its promotional bit for the game, or the format, making sure Olympic cricket in 2036 at Ahmedabad’s 132,000-seat Narendra Modi stadium proves the dazzling spectacle that India, the International Cricket Council and the International Olympic Committee want it to be. That is what lies at the bottom of it and not much is being taken unrealistically for granted when 2036 is spoken so much of. Next month in Mumbai, when India hosts its first-ever IOC session, it could go a long way towards clinching it given the country’s rising global profile, increasing financial strength and the world’s acknowledgement of its sci- entific progress.
The fortuitous spin-off of it all is what sport in general and cricket in particular have an eye peeled for, with India ready to let others in on the grand carnival. IOC chief Thomas Bach, once a bemedalled fencer,hasrecentlybeenphotographedplaying cricket with women in Fiji and backing it up with a comment to the effect that he has always loved the game. The IOC, of course, would love anything if it made money, which explains why the ICC latched on to it after years of maintaining a wary distance from the sport. The lounge suits have nothing to lose but their turf-protecting inhibitions; they have more contracts to win than they know what to do with. T20 makes the game-changing feat possible, which implies an increasingly decreasing space for the other formats but resistance, as of now, is not even contemplated.