I have always been a supporter of spreading games through different coordinates. Cricket is a game that is unknown to many nations across the world. Only a handful of countries knows about this game. My American friends ask me about this game and they find it amazing. Cricket is an interesting sport that needs to be made famous. It's popular in the Subcontinent, some parts of Africa, United Kingdom, Caribbean, Australia and NewZealand. There are many countries and why only a few of them practice this sport. It is not a popular game like Football which is played almost all places in this world. One reason for that could be the time duration. The outcome of a Soccer match can be seen in 90 minutes. Viola! 90 minutes to decide the game. On the other hand, cricket can last even for days. For instance, Test match is played for 5 days, One Day Internationals are played for around 8 to 9 hours of the day and the most recent addition to the Cricket world - T20 takes around 4 hours. So it's obvious that people from the Americas and the Europas who are used to seeing outcomes within minutes would find Cricket boring. The Asians are a mighty fan of this sport and Cricket is called as one of the Religion in India, Pakistan, and Srilanka. Such is the craze for Cricket in these part of the world.
I am still glad that ICC is doing its best in promoting Cricket to various regions of the world. I highly appreciate it. But it is not good enough. It has basically classified its 106 members into categories as Full Time, Associate and Affiliate members. Full-Time members represent countries such as India, Pakistan, England, Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Zimbabwe, South Africa and New Zealand that actually play the high level of cricket and compete at the highest level of the sport such as World Cups and Championships.
|Image is taken from Wikipedia|
Associates are countries where Cricket is completely developed but they do not qualify for full membership. All Associate teams are eligible to play in the various ICC Competitions governed by the ICC itself. ICC conducts associate championship games that serve as a qualifier for ICC's major events that comprise of full-time members. That's why you could find teams such as Afghanistan, Oman, Scotland, Netherland, Ireland, Kenya etc. pitting against each other in big ICC events. ICC is giving good opportunities to such teams but it should be noted that few of these teams play quality cricket such as Afghanistan and Ireland. Ireland has defeated former world champion Pakistan in the 2007 Cricket World Cup and Afghanistan has recently defeated Zimbabwe. Such highly fit teams should be given full membership. These are the teams that have battled it out and struggled throughout to scale this level. Who could have imagined that one day Afghanistan would play cricket against big teams in a major world tournament? Yes, it did. Who would have taught that Kevin O'Brien's blitzkrieg innings of 115 gave Ireland a famous victory against neighbours England in the 2011 ICC World Cup? With teams such as Japan, Namibia, Israel and many others showing interests in Cricket, it is quite evident that one day we will see a Football Like Cricket event in future.
The Last category is that of the Affiliated members where ICC recognizes these nations where cricket is played according to the rules. Teams such as Austria, Brazil, China are few of the Affiliated members of the ICC.
Any sporting body should make efforts to raise the quality of level of sport and moreover promote it. ICC should assign mentors to refine skills of the players from the associate teams. SriLanka was an associate member in the 1980's and it won the 1996 world cup. Bangladesh was an associate member in the late 1990's and the 2000's and these young Bangla boys give a tough fight to biggies. It kicked out India from the 2007 World Cup and also defeated Australia in an ODI match. Teams like Afghanistan, Netherlands and Ireland of today are pretty much like the teams of Zimbabwe, SriLanka and Bangladesh of yesteryears and imagine how they progressed rapidly. If given a chance, these new kids of Cricket would prove all wrong. Time has changed.
If time constraint is the issue, then ICC can have three matches played in a day in a T20 competition spanning over One to One Half month with 15 to 20 teams. That would be fun! Don't you think so? Only if ICC gives chances to the newcomers
The following is the format of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2016 that is being played in India.
|Super 10 (Group 1) – England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Group B Winner|
Bangladesh and Ireland from Group A and Afghanistan and Zimbabwe from Group B have shown their might to bigger opponents like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, England and Australia. Imagine through luck factor if any of the amazing teams in Group A and B bow out then that would be the saddest thing to happen. I'm happy that ICC is equally supporting women to play cricket. Good to see that. I wish ICC does its best to promote this game across the globe and may the best team win in the ongoing ICC World T20 2016
|Maasai Tribal men playing cricket. Source|
Inspired by Alok's article on why ICC is not supporting World Peace?