Thursday, April 2, 2009

Associate Nation - What's That?

Who would be interested in a cricket tournament that involves teams from places as diverse as Denmark, Uganda, Namibia, Bermuda, and Oman?

Not many.

"Do these countries even play cricket?" is the common response you get from majority of the cricket followers.

When you tell them that Afghanistan has a cricket team that has against all odds managed to get to the qualifying competition for the 2011 World Cup, you manage to attract some attention.

Which is lost again when they hear that the Nertherlands, UAE, Kenya, Scotland, Ireland, and Canada are also trying to qualify.

"But they have played World Cups before and never done anything. Why do they even try?" is another reaction that is quite common.

Well, Kenya managed to reach the semi-finals in 2003.

Ireland managed to kick Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup.

A Canadian batsmen made the fastest world cup century.

A UAE opener smashed Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis out of the park on several occasions.

These few achievements have not been enough to convince the cricket watching public that the associate nations are good enough to compete among the best in a World Cup.

These people have a point and their reactions are valid to some extent.

What happened to Kenya after they reached the Semis?

There was potential to build that team. The platform was set. They could have developed into a world class ODI outfit.

It did not happen though.

Had the administrators tried to develop the game in Kenya by providing them better facilities and more international games, maybe they would not have been in a position where they would have had to try and qualify for another world cup.

They are former semi-finalists for God's sake!

Afghanistan has shown a lot of promise throughout their matches in the World Leagues leading upto the ICC Qualifiers.

That promise needs to be developed further.

Afghanistan should not go the way Kenya did after 2003.

Funding, development, facilities, coaches, whatever they need. It should be provided.

I know its the recession but the big bux are still being raked in by some cricket boards. I don't need to mention them.

Good use is utilizing it for developing these associate nations that show potential to be world beaters.

I have lived in the UAE all my life almost and I have seen their cricket develop slower than a snail's pace. In fact a snail seems to take strides in front of how the game has developed here.

The UAE have appeared in a World Cup and in almost all the qualifying competitions.

Yet their cricketers still play on cement wickets and sandy outfields.

Why? Why is their no support for the associate nations? Where does the money from the "development fund" go?

There are still only 2 international stadiums in the UAE, out of which one is banned and the other has hosted a handful of ODIs. A 3rd one is about to host its first.

Why has there been so much inaction?

I cannot blame the cricket watching public for being un-interested or ignorant about the matches played by associate nations.

How can we expect them to take the likes of Kenya, Afghanistan, and the UAE seriously when the administrators themselves don't?

There's a lot of potential out there. A lot of promise. A lot of opportunity.

We just need the right people to tap into it the right way!

Make your pitch on this post...

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18 Pitched:

  1. Jrod said...

    A canadian batsman? John Davison has a name you know...

  2. Anonymous said...

    John Davison is the correct answer to all of Jrod's polls.

    On a side note, if only the ICC would nurture upcoming international cricket outfits we could have a lot of cricket worth watching. Maybe have a series division perhaps?

  3. Q said...

    Ofcourse he has a name Jrod as does Saleem Raza who smashed Wasim and Waqar outta the park but I thot it wud make greater impact if I wud simply say "A canadian batsman" or "A UAE batsman"... didn't want people to say John Davison who u know...

  4. Q said...

    Not sure if hes the correct answer but he sure is there in every survey option anonymous.

    Series division definitely makes sense. The ICC can do a lot with the associates.. Im afraid I dont think they have done enough.

  5. SledgeHammer said...

    @Q: Agree and disagree with you. Certainly further investment will help the teams develop. But a win or two here and there does not make them "world beaters" or "world class ODI outfits".

    Bangladesh is a good example. I like the team, I really do. I respect them a lot, and I admire the commitment of their supporters (Pakistani fans should learn a thing or two from them when it comes to attending home matches). But the truth is that their record is pretty bad. A total of 8 ODI wins out of 134 against the current Test playing nations. And their Test record? 48 losses, 3 draws, out of 51 Tests.
    And they have a proper domestic structure, lots of international exposure, foreign coach involvement, etc.

    Sri Lanka would be the counter example to Bangladesh - from nothing in the early 80s, to world champions in 1996. But they didn't get much ICC investment. ICC was hardly organized at that time, it was local talent and determination that brought them to where they are today.

    I'm really disappointed that Bangladesh has not made similar progress. Yes, they've had a few extraordinary wins (WC 99, WC 07, Cardiff, etc), but 1 win out of every 17 ODIs is not much encouragement for the ICC and global cricket fans to see newer nations become bonafide contenders.

    I don't disagree that ICC should further the investment. Afghanistan is an excellent example right now, and it could be so important even outside of just the sporting aspect - it could energize a country in disarray. But I think your expectations are quite high.

    The ICC also makes dumbass moves like putting more teams in the ODI WC than the T20 WC. Rather, they should bring the associate nations into the T20 fold where they have a better chance at being serious competitors, and then work their way into the ODI scene.

    All that said, GO AFGHANISTAN!!!!!

    The irony would be if Afghanistan is ever invited to play in Pakistan, and they refuse to tour because of security!!! Would love to see Pak vs Afghanistan in Peshawar one day.

  6. Q said...

    I agree Sledge that a win or two does not make them world beaters or world class but what I was talking abt that if these teams have the potential to be then that potential needs to be tapped.

    I believe Kenya of 2003 and Afghanistan and even UAE to some extent have that potential..

    Sri Lanka started out as the minnows in the late 70s and they were just that all the way till 1995.. its was the CB Series in Australia that Dec-Jan in 95-96 that turned their fortunes and despite the promise they showed in that tri-series not many took them seriosuly till half way through the 96 world cup..

    So for Sri Lanka it was a 16 year journey from minnow to world beaters.. and even longer in test cricket..

    Bangladesh have been there for abt 10 years since they got full status.. so give them a bit more time I think.. last year was a breakthrough year for them where I think they really pushed the stronger teams further.. they were not pushovers.. so with some more time this current Bangladesh team has the potential to compete..

  7. Abdullah said...

    Interesting account here Q

    By the way there is a new thread on MAZA786 about the fate of Pakistan cricket. I'm sure it shall appeal to u in particular so please come and share your views.

    Yours in sport

  8. SledgeHammer said...

    @Q: I don't think Bangladesh shows any hint of Sri Lanka...yet.

    Sri Lanka beat both India and Pakistan in Tests within 3-4 years, and drew many matches against all opposition.

    Bangladesh has lost 48 out of 51 Tests against current Test teams, drawing just one each against NZ, Ind, and WI.

    In ODIs, Sri Lanka won 1 out every 5/6 matches for their first 10-15 years against Test teams. This is remarkably better than Bangladesh's 1 in 17.

    Hopefully this trend will change, and last year's results do give hope.

  9. bored cricket crazy indians said...

    at a time when the test playing nations struggle, the associates can go fly a kite.

    that's the way it is

  10. Anonymous said...

    Afghanistan in Peshawar ... Welcome to hell, guards Pathan. you can not go with a victory from here ..

    Afghanistan has now won 2 out of 2 matches, they have about 30% chance to get through.

    Maybe next year Afghanistan against Pakistan (ODI) at the Arbab Niaz Stadium. Who do you think will have most fans there Q?

    If Pakistan helps Afghanistan in the way they have done so far, within ten years, I think Afghanistan will be a strong cricket nation.

  11. Anonymous said...

    BTW what's wrong with the UAE team? I thought they were much stronger.

  12. Q said...

    Will hop on there soon Maza..

  13. Q said...

    Sledge, point taken. Lanka were definitely better in their developing years but I think Bangladesh will soon turn the corner. The likes of Ashraful, Shakib, Tamim, Murtaza will hopefully be their Ranataunga, De Silva, Mahanama, and Wickremasinghe :-)

  14. Q said...

    bored member - fly a kite? in a cricket ground?

  15. Q said...

    Anonymous - Afghanistan is one of the favorites I reckon. I think they might get more support than Pakistan at the Arbab Niaz.. definitely they will.. it sure will be a sight..

  16. Q said...

    Anon - UAE is definitely stronger than what they showed against Kenya today.. Onyango really got stuck into them.. 6-14 is quire impressive..

    Before the UAE team left here there was major controversy over some of the key players being left out of the squad. Khurram Khan who is the captain gave a statement that this was not the team he was expecting to take to South Africa.. he said he had discussed a very different squad with the selectors. Which is true.. a lot of players in the qualifiers are sadly the "safarshi" kind.. u know what I mean?

    A lot of talent like Vikrant Shetty, Mohammad Tauqir, and some others have been left behind due to the sad workings of the board here..

  17. Anonymous said...

    Q Afghanistan lost today :(

    your UAE did great, damn I was enjoying the last overs of that match. Now the group is completely open, 4 teams with 2 wins 1 lost and bermuda with 2 points.

    Afghanistan should use Karim and Shenwarai on their atack against NL. becuase the pitch is for spin.

  18. Q said...

    Damn that abt Afghan Anon.. didn't follw it today.. will check now..

    Great abt UAE!!

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