ICC chief executive David Richardson thinks the "time is right" for cricket at the Olympic Games ©Getty Images

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson has revealed that a decision on whether the world governing body will submit an application to be part of the sport programme for the 2024 Olympic Games is expected to be made by July.

If the idea is given the green light, an application would be submitted for the consideration of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in September.

Earlier this year, the South African, who played 42 Test matches for his country, said discussing getting cricket back at the Olympics would be one of the four "strategic pillars" for the ICC during 2017.

Richardson described the Twenty20 strand of the game as an "ideal" format and said here at SportPro Live, where he was the sole speaker on the session entitled "How does cricket go beyond its traditional boundaries?", that both he and the majority of ICC members think the "time is right" for cricket at the Olympics.

"I think we’ve come to the conclusion that the overall benefit to the game, of helping to globalise it and grow it, will outweigh any negatives so I’m hopeful," Richardson said.

Los Angeles and Paris are currently locked in a two-horse race for the hosting rights to the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with a decision due to be made at the IOC’s Session in Lima’s capital Peru on September 13.

Cricket last featured at an Olympic Games in 1900, when they were held in Paris, and saw Great Britain beat hosts France in the only match of the tournament. 

Asked whether he thinks the outcome of the 2024 contest will have an impact on cricket’s chances of Olympic inclusion, Richardson said: "Not really.

"It’s more a case that we need to make a decision by I would guess July this year so that we can submit an application by September, as I understand that’s when the IOC will be considering new sports for 2024.

"Both [Los Angeles and Paris] would not be disasters.

"In fact, both would be opportunistic for us, especially the US option but also in Europe.

"We’ll have to spend a little bit more money on cricket pitches in France than the US, but it’s not impossible."

ICC chief executive David Richardson has claimed Twenty20 is the ideal format for cricket to make its return to the Olympic programme for the first time since Paris 1900 ©Getty Images
ICC chief executive David Richardson has claimed Twenty20 is the ideal format for cricket to make its return to the Olympic programme for the first time since Paris 1900 ©Getty Images

Richardson, 57, admits one of the main challenges facing cricket’s Olympic inclusion is fitting it into the international calendar, given that the Games are traditionally held in the Northern Hemisphere summer.

"That’s a problem for England," he said.

"They don’t want to send their best players in the middle of what would be an Ashes Test.

"So there are going to be scheduling issues.

"When England have said before 'hold on are we sure we want to go down this route?', that’s been their main concern from a scheduling point of view."

The return of golf to the Olympic programme at Rio 2016, after a 112-year hiatus, was dampened by a number of the sport’s leading players opting against competing.

Questioned on whether he is concerned about the same scenario occurring in cricket, Richardson said he is confident clauses could be put into participation agreements stating the best available players must be selected.

"If cricket wants to get into the Olympics, we’re not interested in six-a-side cricket or indoor cricket," he added.

"First of all, it must be in a format that you play internationally and we want the best players to be at the Olympics, so there’s no question of sending an under-23 team or an under-21 team.

"It will be the best players and the top teams."

Richardson confirmed that if cricket was to be admitted, the IOC would probably not be able to cater for much more than six to eight teams.

This is due to limitations on the number of athletes allowed to compete.