Another Associate Hating Cricket Policy
Seems as if every time a new ICC initiative comes out, it is to the detriment of the Associates and Affiliates. Cutting the World Cup to 10 just sets all Associates back another step.
Taking a break from the Champion’s League for the time being (will be back and raring whilst going for the Warriors to beat Chennai) a few things went right under the cricket radar. Fair enough too during this time of immense turmoil; everything is going to pieces. Time to wash off the stink of this Pakistani madness and focus back on the cricket.
The major point that has been neglected in the media was a speculated idea that the 50 Over World Cup would be reduced to just 10 nations, whilst the T20 World Cup would be expanded to 16. Rather than start on a deserved rant about the mismanagement of the ODI format by the ICC (Supersubs, enough said), this instead will have to ask the question on the minds of all people not in the Test 10:
“Does the ICC actually want to expand cricket beyond the Test nations?”
We’ve seen some evidence that they are trying to improve the Associate and Affiliate experience. Two spots at the T20 was a good start for a fledgling tournament and format and additional funding by ways of ICC High Performance Program are definitely showing signs of team improvement. Whilst they nourish and care for the non-Test nations with one hand, in the other is a hangman’s noose; the form of which is restricting their access to top quality matches and the glass ceiling of Test cricket. The problem is not with the Associates, the problem has always been the ICC getting in its own way and messing up the administration of our wonderful game. They devalued ODI cricket by introducing that ridiculous Champion’s Trophy Tournament that no one cares about, allowed for 7-ODI series to run rampant and most of all, haven’t shown any inclination to make the product more enticing for new audiences.
I can’t think of another sport that is more exclusive rather than inclusive. Why would you restrict team and audience participation to those you already have in the bag? It is the worst idea in marketing history to exclude customers. The Test nations comprise roughly 1.7 billion people. With an estimate 6.8 billion people on Earth, we have to ask why there’s an obtuse need to exclude 5.1 billion people from watching the highest level of cricket. I don’t buy into how letting these countries run small fixture matches does count towards inclusion. True inclusion is without bias or exception; something the ICC has been doing for the past 10 years since the Bangladeshi addition.
Cricket is far too precious about handing out invitations to the big league. We already saw the old ICC kill off cricket in the United States, due to fear of the rogue-colony. The likes of John Barton King and George Patterson would’ve been some of the best to ever play Test cricket, but just like then, the ICC is now shutting the door on those outside of the ICC Executive. Imagine if FIFA or the IOC closed the door on their admittance to only 10 nations. It seems ludicrous to pose such a reductio ad absurdum argument, but it shows just how stupid the ICC are.
There is an influx of new interest in cricket through T20 competition which could be built upon with additional resources and added prestige of the Test status presented to a couple more nations. Cricket has next to no penetration in mainland Europe, so imagine what could happen if the Netherlands get their Test status and start to build the game throughout the continent. Uganda and Namibia are also seeking to expand cricket throughout Africa with consistent gameplay and showing great spirit and love for the game. The problem comes from the ICC not willing to stick its neck out for those who’ve yet to prove themselves financially to their cause.
Seems the real efforts to help come from Test member nations to boost up their Associate neighbours, highlighted as such by the West Indies including Canada in their T20 tournament and Australia and England supporting Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands with regular ODIs against these teams. The boards of these nations can see the potential in helping new teams, not only from an altruistic sense but by the rewards these countries could reap going forward. Additional tours, retention of fans from immigrant populations of these nations, more competition to give better match experience so on so forth.
The World Cup needs to expand rather than decrease. Figure out the correct format for the tournament and work off that. I’d rather see 20 teams in it than 10. Any failings of the ODI format, and by extension every Test or Associate team in it, rest on your shoulders.
Editor of the True Allrounder