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Associate Nations and Their Importance in the Cricket World Cup

March 17, 2015

ICC-Cricket-World-Cup-Time has really flied since 14th February, 2015. From the commencement of the ICC Cricket World Cup almost in the blink of an eye we are into knockout stages. This made me realize that I have not been writing anything for a month or so. However with the things happening around I have finally decided to write something.

This world cup clearly depicts how limited over’s format is getting more and more of a batsman’s game. It is raining boundaries, sixes and tons in Australia and New Zealand. But to me the most noticeable thing in this world cup is how the associates have taken their game at least one step forward to add some extra flavor in this tournament. Hence keeping all the rest of the things aside I would like to take this opportunity to write off the proposals recently raised on 10-nation world cup. People who are asking questions about this perhaps have forgotten many other important things resulting this controversy.

What people are saying – Only full member nations should feature in the World Cups.

What is unnoticed – We must not forget one of the fundamental roles of ICC is to promote the game. They must take care of the fact that the game of Cricket gets spread across the globe. Even though such a comparison should not be made, when it comes to a FIFA World Cup, 32 teams have been taking part for a long time now. With the increasing popularity, fan following, their passion towards the game and glamour; cricket should not be far behind. So if we can’t make it 20 we must make sure that the number doesn’t go down. If the associates don’t take part in the world cup, then where else should they take part!


What people are saying – Curtail the unnecessary matches.

What is unnoticed – If the number of teams is reduced to 10, then it will hardly leave any difference from a Champions Trophy. We can’t even expect the quarter finals in that case as taking 8 out of 10 teams for the next round doesn’t really make any sense. In that case the number of matches in the world cup gets reduced to 23, which is less than a half compared to present’s. Can such a thing be still called a World Cup?


What people are saying – Keep only the potentially entertaining games, not the one sided ones.

What is unnoticed – When it comes to entertainment, the people should look back to the group fixtures of the ongoing tournament and try to find out what the so-called potentially entertaining matches had to offer with. The biggest of the bunch, India vs Pakistan ended up being a one sided match. The much anticipated game between India and South Africa was nothing different. Except the match between Australia and New Zealand I can’t see a match that went down to the wire. On the other hand, the matches between the associates although might not have seen the crowd, but were a lot more entertaining. When I am watching a match as a neutral I would opt to see a Zimbabwe vs Ireland match with full of contest rather than an Australia vs England match that ends up one way. So it doesn’t always mean that the potentially entertaining games will eventually be entertaining as the match is played in the field, not on paper.


What people are saying – Less number of upsets caused by the associates, so remove them.

What is unnoticed – This is where I feel the associate nations have been very unlucky, because at the end of the day what only matters is that who carried it. History only remembers who won and not how they won. But if we have a close look at it, Afghanistan went close to upset the last 2 time finalists, and Zimbabwe had the upper hand against Pakistan for quite some time. The kind of fight Zimbabwe put up with the bat after had posed a mammoth total, can be a great advertisement for the game itself. But unfortunately it’s the way you see the things. However, had Ireland been able to cruise through the group stages the story could have been different. In addition to this, I must say that often a single upset result turns out to be enough to see its reflection on the names of the teams who progress. Everyone remembers what happened in 2007 with two of the Asian giants. This time too Ireland would feel that they did enough to play the knockouts, but unfortunately for them it’s West Indies who progress on net run rate. Otherwise did West Indies play really well apart from their fixture against Pakistan? Or on the other pool, did England manage a single win against a major team? Forget about winning, did they look anywhere near of being convincing? Still their legacy is going to save them and we are thinking to remove the associates. Isn’t that unfair?


What people are saying – Presence of the associate nations degrades the standard of the World Cup.

What is unnoticed – Before saying this we must have a look at what ICC has been doing regarding this issue. Unless the teams like Ireland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan are not given enough matches to play with the test playing nations and their meeting is once in 4 years, we can’t simply expect from them to play at their best at the top level of competition. The more they get to play these matches, the more they will learn about how to prepare themselves for these games. Don’t forget that Bangladesh a few years ago were considered to be the same. Even though they are still far away from the game of the other test playing nations, yet they have always had some surprise or other to show for. But this won’t have been possible if they were not given the chance to play with the major countries.

There have been many a few inspiring performances from the players of the backbench countries. As Zimbabwe head home they will be looking back to the performances of Sean Williams and of course the Brendan Taylor. Afghanistan, the debutants, will take their positives out of Shapoor Zadran and Shenwari’s consistent performances. Even who can forget Joshua Davey and Shaiman Anwar! If we talk about Ireland, they will surely look to take their game to the next level in upcoming years. Right now there are countries having almost no infrastructure for the development of cricket, but their passion towards to game has dragged them into the T20 world cup qualifiers. But if such a decision of 10-nation World Cup is taken by the ICC, it will not only be unfair to these countries who are trying to lift themselves up, but also may also break many cricketing hearts which in future will not beat for cricket anymore. For the game of Cricket it can’t get any worse than that. So ICC, think over it again. One wrong step is enough to spoil the globalization of the game.

  1. Great points and I agree with the analysis. The problem is that superficial view does not give the entire picture. I think that most of these questions are rooted at one common location which is entertainment which goes down to money for the organizers. New people should be allowed to come and this sport (all sports in fact) should allowed to grow. Else it is better to see a movie to get entertained.

    • Absolutely right. To me entertainment means good cricket. It doesn’t matter who are playing, being sports lovers we want to see good contests played with the proper spirit of the game. The game needs competition and for that the teams must be well accomplished. But we can’t blame the teams if they are not given the platform to get their eyes in at the international circuit. I am quite confident if the teams get the opportunity to play more they will certainly be able to throw harder challenges towards the major teams.

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