With the Tokyo Olympics Games 2020 kicking off from 23rd July, a lot of sporting fans may get divided as we also have the T20 series between India and Sri Lanka on the cards.
So let's take a midway path and discuss something that incorporates the Olympics as well as cricket. If you're thinking about reasons why Cricket should be a part of the Olympics, click here for a detailed review of why we also feel the same.
However, today's topic is more about the only time when cricket was played in the Olympics. It was played in the year 1900 (Paris Games) and the teams that faced each other in the cricket grand finale were Great Britain and France.
Let's have a look at some unique facts about the only cricket game that was contested in the Olympics, 121 years ago!
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had cricket in its plans even for the 1896 Athens Games but the sport did not have enough teams to feature and come to a fruitful conclusion.
However, at the Paris Games, cricket was all set to reward a nation with a medal. Belgium, Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands were supposed to compete but at the last moment, both Netherlands and Belgium opted out.
Where reasons are not mentioned to date, we feel that happened because of the failure in the materialization of bids from both nations to co-host the Olympic Games in the near future. It felt like the whole event would be called off but finally, August 19 and August 20 were the announced dates for the match to be played between Great Britain and France.
If the format is to be taken into consideration, the match played could be called a test match played at the Velodrome de Vincennes. However, very few are aware of the fact that Velodrome was a cycling venue, amazing, isn't it?
The game was not even recognized as a first-class match as both teams fielded more than 11 players. (12 each)
Out of the 24 players, Alfred Bowerman and Montagu Toller, both from Great Britain emerged as stars of their nation. While one batted exceptionally, the other did the magic with the cricket ball.
Alongside Bowerman, it was Charles Beachcroft who contrived to stick through the game, both becoming the only players to have scored 50 or more in the match. Great Britain were fortunate to have both of them in their squad. Both the half-centuries came in the second and the more important innings of the game.
France only managed to score 104. Wait, this is not their first innings score but their score in both the innings combined. This was possible due to a masterclass bowling performance by Toller, who picked 7 wickets, giving away only nine runs in the second innings, while Britain's first innings bowling got its flare due to Frederick Christian, who also managed to pick seven scalps.
Consequently, Great Britain won the match by a thumping margin of 158 runs and were awarded a silver medal, with France being handed the bronze medal.
Another noteworthy point and probably a painful one for the French people is that had France held for five more minutes, the game would've been tied.
Yes, that's true! However, 12 years after the final, in the year 1912, Britain's silver was converted into gold, while France's medal got changed into silver and after several controversies surfacing, the 1900 Cricket match in the Olympics was handed the validation as the official summer games event.
Four years later, cricket was again scheduled in the 1904 Summer Olympics that was held in St. Louis but was cancelled due to reasons like not having enough entries, etc.
What do you think? Will ICC become successful and get the IOC on board to incorporate cricket again? Or will this game be the only cricketing action witnessed at the Olympics?
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