Home > Cricket Development, Nepal, South Africa, UAE, USA, Zimbabwe > Professionalism in the Associates

Professionalism in the Associates

I was talking to someone yesterday and I realized something. Something that is fundamental to raising the standard of the associate nations compared to the test teams.

Nepal just beat NZ and SA at the U19 level. Now, if you were to take the same players from these countries 10 years into the future, when they are all 28-29, and have a rematch, what do you think is going to happen? In almost all cases, NZ and SA are going to beat Nepal by margins of 100 runs.

So what will happen between now and the next 10 years that such a dramatic difference in standard is going to be created?

The biggest reason would be that the Nepalese boys are going to go on with their lives, they will get a regular job, and cricket for them would end up being only a hobby, a recreation for the weekends. The NZ and SA boys are however going to go back and find contracts with their domestic teams, or retainers from their cricket bodies, and will be practising their cricket 8 hours a day/5 days a week and also get paid well for it. They have the environment to become professionals, while the Nepalese dont.

The problem for the Nepalese players is, that they cant even look around for professional contracts. India, the country which is a stone throw from Nepal and has a lot of money in Cricket, has virtually no interest in their domestic cricket, and has tonnes of players waiting on the sidelines for their domestic teams who are either better or as good as the Nepal players. In any case, there is a general tendency in test nations, the nations that have some salaried first class cricketers, to employ their own players in the domestic system, because no test country has a domestic system which is a product unto it’s own or has any passion associated with it. I noticed something strange, but understandable last year when Bangladesh was touring England. Though the matches were one sided, the attendance in the Eng v Ban matches was still higher than what England gets in their county setup, despite those matches being better contests. Unfortunately, when it comes to cricket, people have passion ONLY for the national country teams.

The only associate countries getting any chance in other’s domestic are the Ugandans and the Zimbabweans. This usually happens because SA have a policy to incorporate black cricketers into their leagues so that they create good role models for the black kids in SA. In any case, I dont think that the Ugandans, Zimbabweans or the Kenyans play in South African first class cricket. I think its just some second or thrid tier clubs. I have heard that some Cook Islands players play in NZ domestic, but we are not talking about 20 players, but perhaps 1 or 2.

Now, both Nepal and Uganda have the crowds, and they have the interest (about 10K registered players in Nepal and a whopping 34K in Uganda). But their cricket associations cannot afford to invite other teams and host them for a month long tour. The only associate association that is financially strong enough to host other teams is UAE.

Hence spurring the cricket industry in a country is a different problem that the ICC faces, and it is definitely not helped by the fact that there exists no passion for any country’s domestic game. Otherwise, lets say that the European countries in Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland and England had the passion for their own club cricket like they have for their football, then most of the players from the associates could have gotten employment in them, and once you had about 10 professionals from an assocaite country, you would know that their national team would be one of good standard.

As an endnote, I would like to mention this MLB backed World Baseball Classic which is a baseball world cup taking place in march. Now there have been baseball world cups before, but this is the first one that is backed by MLB, and hence this is the true world cup with the best players playing in them. There are 16 teams participating, and except for Taiwan, all other teams are composed of MLB players. The whole South Korean and Japanese teams are comprised to players who play in the MLB. Now when they will compete, they will be able to compete well in the world cup (there should not be many one sided competitions) because there is no amateur v professional battle like in cricket. That would in turn spur the baseball industries in these countries (well, baseball in Taiwan, Japan, Domican Republic, Cuba and South Korea doesn’t need any spurring) but it would in other countries like China, Italy perhaps.

It is so pathetic, that despite having a viewership of over 2 billion, cricket is stuck in a limbo in this regard, and can do nothing like the MLB.

  1. Sobhit Man Shrestha
    February 25, 2006 at 5:27 am

    You picked the right point on notice. Yes, NEPAL is showing their potential in youth level but you can see to them in senior level, where are they?

    After having such talents in junior level, these players don’t get a platform to develop their skill. Inside country, there is no proper structure of game. Rarely organizing national level tournaments are announced in. Players can’t expect to earn for their livelihood from cricket.
    Then what can you expect from them to show? So if ACC really wants to see nations who play standard cricket then they have to come over it. Take an extra attention to those countries which are lack of sources. Make possible to play in whole year. Provide them to earn enough after playing.

  2. ajaya
    March 27, 2006 at 12:26 am

    i dont think it is the responsibility of the ACC to ensure that the players of any one country are ‘well paid’. that internal structure is the responsibility of the national boards themselves. the ACC can, at most, provide assistance in the form of coach and umpire training and expert advice on setting up such structures.
    i do believe that we are at a critical juncture in nepali cricket. capitalizing on the momentum created by sucess at the junior leve, CAN needs to step up its activites. the first thing needed is a national league. it dosent have to be fancy, dosent have to be huge. 5 teams is all it needs. 5 teams from the 5 main regions. 3-day cricket. that, in of itself, guarentees that there are at least 55 players who have some experience at multi-day cricket.
    another thing that CAN needs to do is provide coaching training free of charge. im sure that in most schools there is one 30-40 year old who would be happy to coach a school team
    and that leads to the third thing
    provide logistics support to associations and schools who want to set up school tournaments
    top down and bottom up buildup
    it can be done
    and now is the time to do so

  3. March 27, 2006 at 1:40 am

    Nepal is probably the only country that can jumpstart their cricket economy at the momment. What they need to do , now that they are out of the Intercontinental Cup, is that they invite the leading associates to Nepal and play against them in a series of limited overs and 4 day matches. These will be at CANs expense, hence the question is, can they get about 20K people in the stadium to come and watch the games? Can they sell the tickets enough to cover the cost of the touring sides stay and travel??? Also, Nepal can look at the English county sides which are looking to warm up with opposition lesser than county sides around March-April…… I believe that in that case, the English County bears the travel expenses, but it would be excellent outing for Nepal.

  4. Arjun Menon
    May 9, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    I agree that Nepal needs a major boost so that cricket there can start levelling up to where Bangladesh are at the moment. That would be a great achievement in itself and a first step into entering the realms of top class cricket. I have seen and travelled with some of Nepali boys while doing work with the ACC and I agree there are some very talented cricketers in Nepal.

    The idea of a state league is fantastic and I am sure that should catch the attention of the Nepalese people only and I mean only if it is marketed properly. The sporting industry anywhere in the world is run on the dollar and dare I say that that is the only way any code of sport is to survive in any country. If there is no spectator appeal, there is no money for the sport. It is not just about the sport anymore, it is also a business.

    The other option is to have a sporting structure like Australia’s where even sports like hockey which does not have any professional league in the country can produce World Champions. Alot of that though comes through a very strong sense of sporting culture and overwhelming government support. That is something I do not think Nepal can consider as an option. What can give Nepal the stepping stone now apart from continued support from ACC is professional administration for the game and level headed thinking and not trying to bite off more than they can chew. Patience is the name of the game and if any country got it right I would say Sri Lanka did when they entered the realms of top class cricket.

    All the best to Nepal and I would definitely love to see them in the World Cup one day.

  5. shakti
    April 6, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    i think that there is lack of professnalism in the nepali cricket.you see football whick is far behind in nepal has a football league where players are paid over salaries through which they can support their players but our cricket is much develpoed than football why dont we have a cricket league in nepal. so tony grieg of the icl mentioned that we will have a nepali team in the icl so we can apply for icl also.
    our team has been lacking in the batting so why not search for some good batting talents around the country.

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