Home > Cricket Development > Opinion: Leading Senior+Junior cricket numbers

Opinion: Leading Senior+Junior cricket numbers

Here is a look at the associate countries in the world having the highest number of combined senior + junior cricketers. What I mean by that is people playing hard ball cricket in an organized format, not counting Kanga cricket, or any other softball cricket which is played for fun or for learning clinic purpose. I took out the Junior involvement numbers because one is not sure about what is happenning there. At least this number tells you the real number of people interested enough to be playing the game to some level of seriousness.

  1. USA (15090)
  2. Nepal (8790)
  3. Ireland (8625)
  4. Canada (7400)
  5. UAE (7320)
  6. Scotland (6960)
  7. Malaysia (6615)
  8. Saudi Arabia (4330)
  9. Netherlands (4065)
  10. PNG  (3360)
  11. Kenya  (2430)
  12. Namibia  (2115)
  13. Uganda  (2055)
  14. Vanuatu  (1840)
  15. Denmark  (1695)

USA has 14000 senior cricketers, so that effectively doesnt say much about their program. Its only recent immigrants from South Asia playing the game in all of USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia and most of UAE. Vanuatu has the highest number of players per head in this list, nearly 3 out of a hundred (their population is only 200K). Except for the expat based countries, I think in the rest it shows a good trend in the others, and shows how things are going to be in 4-5 years time. Nepal, Ireland, Scotland, Malaysia and Netherlands are the good numbers here. One has to take into account that Nepal probably has a lot more players, they are just not registered as a formal club etc.

Categories: Cricket Development
  1. Ram
    May 18, 2006 at 7:59 pm

    Good numbers those!..I wonder how the corresponding numbers for countries like Afghanistan, Japan, Tanzania (rapidly developing cricket structure) or Greece (thanks to Corfu) stack up against these?

    One country which became a part of the ICC only in 2001 and is still an Affliate member, and one that I believe can become a genuine Test nation in just another 10 years is Afghanistan!! I think all Afghanistan need is money to develop infrastructure, I see a parallel to Pakistan in 1947, though not exactly similar. I think if the ICC can give that US $500,000 amount to Afghanistan instead of Bermuda, which anyway gets Bermudian $11 million from its Govt for a tiny population of 67,000, we could easily see another Test nation within the next 10 years or so. Is it fair to say that Afghanistan has the potential to make it bigger and sooner than even Srilanka?

  2. May 18, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    Tanzania and Greece are quite low, not even in the top 30 I think. Japan is a little higher, I think it missed this list by 2-3 positions. But majority of their senior cricketers are expats as well.

    Bermuda qualified through the ICC trophy, for which Afghanistan could not even qualify, so I think the ICC spent the money correctly there.

    Afghanistan needs to work out its own dynamics. None of the other countries which are showing a lot of potential (Japan, Argentina, Chile, Thailand, Malaysia, Vanuatu etc) are being given extra money by the ICC except for Uganda, so I do not see why Afghanistan should be an exception. Afghanistan first needs to become an associate and the money would start coming in automaticall from the ICC.

    But yes I do agree that the ICC should rethink its investment strategy and go ahead and invest a little bit more money in some of these great potential associates.

  3. Ram
    May 19, 2006 at 5:02 pm

    Actually, I’m not talking about Afghanistan based on stats alone. I feel US $500,000 is just wasted on a country with a population of 67,000 and that too considering that their own government has promised Bermudian $11 million for the game’s development.

    I feel Afghanistan is a totally different scenario compared to the other ‘potential’ countries because in other countries, the game had to be developed from grass roots unlike in Afghanistan where the ‘natural’ following for the game was curbed by the rulers and no sport was allowed to flourish. It’s similar to asking Pakistanis or Indians not to play cricket. Afterall, culturally Afghanis are similar to Pakistanis, who are themselves similar to Indians, which is why cricket is the No. 1 sport in both the countries.

    Having said this, I’m interested to hear that Uganda alone is being given extra funding by the ICC..May I know the reason for this?

    Coming to the topic of ICC funding, I’ve some comments to make about how the ICC must go about tapping the game’s financial potential and how it should ‘distribute’ this money among its members but I feel that would make this post too long!

  4. May 20, 2006 at 3:34 am

    Uganda has been a model associate country for junior cricket development for the past 2-3 years, and it has the MOST people overall playing cricket… around 27K, amongst associates. So I think the ICC probably has taken that into account and doubled their annual funding. UCA is a good organization and I think they will use this extra funding to furhter improve their programmes.

  5. Ram
    May 22, 2006 at 11:10 am


    Though slightly out of context, I’ve always felt that the ICC needs to make its tournaments (like the U-19 World Cup, the ICC trophy, Intercontinental Cup etc.) self-sufficient and NOT depend on the World Cup or the Champions trophy for survival! In this context, I’ve been wondering if a World Cup involving the domestic champions of all the 10 Test playing countries along with the top 8 Associate countries would be a good idea. Such a venture held every alternate year can have the following advantages:

    1. Greater visibility to domestic cricket: The national board should nominate their domestic team for the World cup based on performances in all domestic tournaments since the last such World Cup (i.e. in the last 2 years)..the prospect of their regional team playing in a World cup may make fans to come out n watch domestic games.

    2. Self-sustaining: To begin with, the first couple of tournaments can be held in countries like India or Bangladesh where the tournament can be expected to have a large coverage and can turnout to be a profitable venture. Then, Associate countries can be asked to host the tournament; the prospect of seeing their country participate in a World level tournament against top opposition at home can help the cause of making people come to the stadium.

    3. Exposure: Not only would such a tournament provide greater exposure to these Associate countries against quality opposition, the domestic teams would also get to play in alien conditions in front of crowds, which can help raise their standard of cricket. Thus the difference in levels between Test and domestic cricket can be reduced.

  6. May 23, 2006 at 5:54 pm


    It is not the ICC that has to make the tournaments self sufficient. It is the fans. If you see attendance at domestic matches in South Asia, or even Australia/NZ, they are abysmal numbers. Even SA and Eng are getting much lower numbers now.

    The thing is that the average cricket fan does not associate much weight to domestic games. Or even A team matches, and even games between 2 weaker ODI teams. This is not just true in the associates themselves, but also in the Test countries. International cricket, against teams which are able to stand up to top opposition, seem to be the only way to go forward and get some money in. ICC has realized that and hence given the 6 associates ODI status. The ODI tag seems to be the only thing that will get the full member countries to play against them seriously, and that is likely to get the associate country’s crowd involved.

    At least thats the theory.

  7. Ram
    May 23, 2006 at 6:39 pm


    By ICC making these tournaments self-sufficient what I mean is that it can hold these tournaments in countries where it’s likely to draw decent crowds. That’s why I feel the ICC must keep a record of the kind of crowds its member countries get for non-international matches. Also, the ICC must look at those Associate countries where crowd attendances are fairly good and look to allocate tournaments like the ICC trophy or the U-19 World Cup there, if possible.

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