Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive David Grevemberg revealed here today they are discussing the prospect of cricket featuring at Durban 2022.
The South African city was awarded the Games at the CGF General Assembly in Auckland last month after its only rival, Edmonton in Canada, withdrew earlier this year as a result of a global decline in oil prices.
Following the confirmation of the hosts the CGF claimed they had begun discussions on adding new sports to the programme for the Games with that process expected to be finalised by the close of the year.
Cricket which made its only appearance at a Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, a tournament won by South Africa, has previously been mooted as a potential addition and Grevemberg has now confirmed discussions are taking place.
“We are at a very preliminary stage in engaging with the International Cricket Council (ICC),” he said at the Beyond Sport’s “Beyond the Field of Play” event.
“I think it is exploratory but the movement has shown its ambition to have such a strong Commonwealth sport, similar to rugby, as part of the sports family.”
Last week the ICC confirmed they were seeking a meeting with the International Olympic Committee to discuss opportunities for the sport to be included in more multi-sport games, as a result of its "growing popularity".
Having opted not to apply to be an additional sport at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics it marked a U-turn from the world governing body, who claimed after a Board meeting at their headquarters in Dubai they had received “several approaches from multi-sport organisations” about including the sport at various events.
The Twenty20 form of the game has helped the sport fit into recent multi-sport events, with competitions being held at the last two editions of the Asian Games and this year's Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
Grevemberg hopes that both the CGF and ICC could work in partnership to fulfil their both organisations objectives but declined to speculate on whether inclusion at Durban 2022 could prove too early for the sport’s return to the Commonwealth Games.
“I would not want to be too speculative at this point but we are really excited about having these discussions with the ICC.
“The strongest cricket teams are from the Commonwealth and we hope we can be a helpful part of their programme and they can be a helpful part of ours.”
A total of 18 sports were proposed as part of the Durban 2022 bid: consisting of aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, cycling, hockey, judo, lawn bowls, netball, rugby sevens, shooting, squash, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling.
One of the notable absentees included artistic gymnastics, which has appeared at nine previous editions, but the sport could yet be included following the passing of the CGF’s Transformation 2022 reform process at the General Assembly.
The sport had become one of 16 core sports which must appear at the Games and Grevemberg confirmed its inclusion at Durban 2022 was still on the table.
“That has been put forward as that was agreed to by the General Assembly, so that is part of our discussions with Durban 2022,” he said.
“Obviously we are looking at incorporating our programme and looking at other events and sports.”
October 2015: Cricket's governing body calls for meetings with IOC to discuss involvement in more multi-sport events
September 2015: Exclusive: CGF set to begin discussions over additional sports at Durban 2022 Commonwealth Games
September 2015: Durban officially awarded 2022 Commonwealth Games
August 2015: Durban 2022 given formal backing by South African Government
April 2015: Exclusive: Durban 2022 keep door open for extra sports - but no decision due until Games awarded