Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games bosses have not ruled out bringing cricket to the 2022 event even though it is not included in their final bid.
Despite being a hugely popular sport across the Commonwealth there are currently no plans to host a T20 cricket in 2022.
There are huge numbers of English, Indian, Pakistani, West Indian and Bangladeshi fans living in Birmingham who would line up in their thousands to go to Edgbaston and cheer their teams on.
Birmingham is hoping to be appointed host city later this month with a bid which currently includes 20 confirmed sports from table tennis to rugby sevens.
But it has been unable to secure support from the cricket authorities to stage a T20 competition at the world famous Edgbaston Stadium.
Discussing the city’s bid, Birmingham Conservative leader Robert Alden said: “Cricket is the sport of the Commonwealth. It would be farcical if the Birmingham Games with all the Commonwealth countries represented, with all the cricket fans we have does not have cricket.”
He said that Edgbaston is possibly the only major venue in the world which can sell out a cricket match not featuring the home nation.
“We need to get the lobbying started.”
His comments were echoed by Lib Dem deputy leader Roger Harmer who said: “It could end up being the event which has the biggest audience within the games given the capacity of Edgbaston and attraction of the teams.”
Labour council leader Ian Ward replied that he too would like to see a cricket tournament included but so far it has not been possible.
He explained that they would have to host both women’s and men’s T20 cricket but there are problems convincing the cricket authorities to allow the men to compete.
“As we began assembling the bid what became apparent was that the governing body the ICC was reluctant because India is very protective of its Indian Premier League competition and do not want anything which might compete with that. As well the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are developing a new T20 competition, this will be launched in 2020 and they are also very nervous about a competing competition in summer 2022.
“Nevertheless we have continued to talk to the ECB and ICC.” But warned they are likely only to endorse a women’s competition.
His cabinet colleague Majid Mahmood suggested an alternative of putting on a cricket tournament outside the Games umbrella around the same time if a deal cannot be reached.