Sunday, 15 March 2015

ASSOCIATE NATIONS- The need for the ICC to encourage them & not discourage them...

There has been a lot of speculation going around the cricket circles that the next ICC Cricket World Cup to be played in England in 2019 will have only ten nations participating in it.  I strongly disapprove of this move if it comes true.  Cricket is a very popular sport but it's reach pales in comparison with  a sport like Football.

The simple reason being Football is a global sport being played by more than 150 nations across the world. The same needs to happen for Cricket too. Cricket must not be restricted to just 10-12 nations playing it. Off late , there has been developments taken by the ICC to encourage Cricket from the grassroots level in countries like China, Nepal & Bhutan.

These so called minnows or Associate nations play in their own league( World Division League) where the top four of that tournament get to play in marquee tournaments such as the ICC Cricket  World Cup.  This World cup saw Zimbawe,  Afghanistan, Scotland, UAE &  Ireland make it to the World Cup.

Going by the performances and the grit shown by these small teams , I must definitely say that there is a lot of potential in these teams with a strong team spirit, & the only reason they have not been able to qualify to the next stage of the tournament is simply because they have been exposed to conditions which are alien to them & they are pitted against the better teams of World cricket , as a result of this these teams don't end up winning too many games at such tournaments.

Looking at the way players from these teams have played in this tournament should give the ICC enough reason to include such teams in a more  engaging manner &  arrange series or tournaments where they play against the top teams more, thus giving them the much needed exposure to boost their immense talent & skill further & also make them much more competitive when it comes to big tournaments such as the World Cup, ICC  World T20 or the ICC Champions Trophy.

Here let's have a look at some of the players who are from these Associate nations but who have immense talent & have proved their talent to the world audience.

1.  George Dockrell( Ireland):  George Dockrell is a spinner from Ireland. He has a very simple action & maintains a very good line & length most of the times. Having represented English county side Sussex rather successfully from the past few years, he has used his experience gained from there to propel Ireland to many victories.( His spell against West Indies in this World Cup was instrumental in reducing the West Indian total).

If he is given the chance to play against  better oppositions in future it would only help him further thereby we as audiences can get to see him bowling more.

Here is a glimpse of Dockrell's talent:

2.  Kevin  O Brien( Ireland):  Well, the world cricket audience got to see what amazing hitting talent this guy has when he trounced the English attack to score a hundred in fifty balls thus beating England in the process.  Kevin has got amazing hitting power and a wide array of shots and the ease at which he clears the boundary with ease is amazing. Add his pretty decent  medium paced bowling to the mix & his pretty good catching skills he is a pretty good all rounder.

And he proved he is not a one match wonder as he pummelled a quick fire fifty of twenty four balls to drive Ireland home against UAE when Ireland was in a lot of pressure chasing.

Heres a sneek peak into the talent of Kevin O Brien, who I rate pretty highly as a good limited overs cricketer.

3.  Brendan Taylor( Zimbawe):   Cricket in Zimbawe has taken a shocking dip over the past few years due to their political issues which forced out many of their talented white skinned cricketers to leave Zimbawe for good.  After being boycotted by the bigger teams for a certain period of time, they were given a fresh lease of life wherein the politics of the country won't rule their cricket.

And in that period, we saw the emergence of a phenomenal batting talent in the form of  Brendan Taylor. He has a solid technique, to go with his wide array of shots.  And he has been the national team's wicket-keeper as well all this time and he also has captained them for some time.

An important player for Zimbawe,  Brendan Taylor has sadly decided to quit Zimbawean cricket and move to England where he will represent English county side Nottinghamshire for three years as part of the Kolpak deal wherein he can't represent his country for three years.

Well this has happened because the current situation in Zimbawean cricket is such that it does'not allow players like Taylor to grow professionally as much as they would have wanted.

Here is why I personally rate Brendan Taylor's talent a lot:

There have been many other players such as William Porterfield & Paul Stirling from Ireland ,  Shaiman Anwar from UAE, Shapoor Zadran & Hamid Hussain from Afghanistan &  Josh Davey & Kyle Coertzer from Scotland who have put up some brilliant performances in this World Cup but I featured three players whose talent & skill I  like the most among the smaller nations,

My sincere request to the ICC is to allow these teams to play with the better teams of world cricket more often so that it makes the game of Cricket a global sport & not just get stuck with the top eight or ten teams. And please, I repeat please reconsider the decision to make the next World Cup a 10 nation tournament.

1 comment:

  1. fully support the views; More the merrier ; May be we can look at playing two matches per day to reduce the time taken for the league matches but all the associate members should participate; I am sure in 2019 one of the Associate Nations may even reach the Quarter finals ; Great Blo