Home > Cricket Development > Opinion: Top associates need to play more…

Opinion: Top associates need to play more…

In my opinion, the 4 top associates, and the bottom 2 test teams i.e Scotland, Netherlands, Ireland, Kenya, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, need to play a lot of cricket with each other. At the momment, the only ranking I can imagine is that Bangaldesh is better than Kenya, and perhaps Netherlands is also better than Kenya (if only they could go ahead with the ODIs, we would have known). But how do Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands rank against Zim and Bangladesh we dont know, and it looks like we will not know at least in the next year either. Bermuda and Canada, which ARE much weaker than the top associates are going to be getting the ODIs with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and also Kenya. But the ranking between Ban, Zim, Sco, Net, Ire and Ken is not going to be known.

This is a pity. Because if the Scotland cricket board laments the fact that people dont come to the stadium to back the national team if they are playing Namibia, a presumed 'much weaker and unknown' team, then perhaps, more games against Kenya, Bangaldesh and Zimbabwe would have created a lot of interest based on their presumed 'strength'. Additionally, my opinion is that these 6 teams have similar standard, so it would have led to good close matches, which would have started the process of 'cricket following in all 4 of the associates'. Finally, since Bangladesh is a test team, and Zimbabwe too at least gets ODIs against the big 8 test nations, one would hope that their standard is going to go much higher in 1-2 years, and that would rub off on the 4 associates if they play regularly. I would not like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh to play ONLY the associates, some teams have to in both categories.

Additionally, there are 4 more teams in Namibia, Denmark, Uganda and Nepal. Perhaps a lot of cricket has to be organized between them and Kenya and Ireland.

Actually, we will see what happens when Denmark plays Netherlands and their A team. That would test this theory. Maybe for the 'third tier' team it is good enough to play against the A teams of the top associates. Though Uganda having beaten Kenya A tells you that the A teams of the top associates may be A much weaker oppsition.

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Categories: Cricket Development
  1. Ram
    June 8, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    Exactly! Even I was thinking about the same when Uganda defeated Kenya A. How would Uganda figure against Scotland A or for that matter Zimbabwe A? This naturally begs the question: Why aren’t Kenya and Scotland looking to play each other when the fact is they are the strongest of the 6 Associate countries? Even the ICC doesn’t seem to have scheduled any ODIs between these two countries prior to the World Cup.

    It’s also really interesting to see how the five ODI series between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in July this year goes given that Kenya (who disappointingly drew a 4-ODI series with Zimbabwe earlier this year) were whitewashed by Bangladesh in Bangladesh. Though Bangladesh would start the series in both Kenya and Zimbabwe as favorites, their lack of experience in African conditions can make these ODIs more interesting.

  2. June 8, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    Ram, 2 things….

    Firstly, I dont think that Kenya is the strongest, or even the top 2 strongest teams at the momment. They have recently become a one trick pony, and Tikolo is soon going to retire. I think Netherlands is the second strongest team, followed by Ireland and THEN Kenya. But you can see that there is no way for us to verify that since these teams are not going to play much with each other. Kenya was definitely a very promising team in 1996-1997, but its the same team right now as well, and you can see that their A team just lost to Uganda, so the world class players are not that deep.

    Secondly, there IS a 5 match ODI series scheduled between Kenya and Scotland for Jan 2007. I think this has recently become a triangular including Zimbabwe, but the countries are still trying to finalize the schedule.

    Personally, I would not be surprised to see Scotland beat Zim in Scotland, or Netherlands beat Zim in Netherlands. You never know, both these coutnries, playing with their full teams, can even give Bangladesh a run for their money under home conditions. We will know more after all of Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland have played the big test teams by the 7th of July.

  3. Ram
    June 8, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    Nasir, I agree that Kenya don’t seem to have the replacements for Tikolos, Odumbes or Sujis but why I still maintain that they are currently the strongest is because of their international experience which is a huge factor at the Associate level. That’s probably THE reason why I would fancy a weaker Zimbabwe or even Kenyan side to defeat a more talented Scottish or Dutch side. However, what you say would eventually come true over a period of time with international exposure for these Associates.

    Secondly, I must confess I overlooked the proposed 5-match ODI series between the two nations. Not sure though if Zimbabwe have also been added to make it a triseries, which begs the question if bilateral ties or triseries is the way to go for these Associate countries? While bilateral ties can potentially develop rivalries and hence greater crowd pulling power and money for the Board, triseries would mean greater exposure since each country gets to play different countries over the same period.

    BTW, I’m not able to get any information about the ticket sales for the Netherlands v Srilanka ODIs..Do you have any idea?

  4. June 8, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    Ram, on the Net-Sri ODIs, I dont have any information on the ticket sales, but judging by the lack of any good news in that regard, I am assuming its not going great guns.

    Staying on topic, I just checked and found out that there IS a triangular series scheduled between Kenya/Ireland and Netherlands in End Jan 2007, but its a single round robin one. Also, Netherlands/Ireland and Scotland will be playing each other at least once in the Euro Div 1 championships this year, but that too is a single round robin, though it also includes Italy and Denmark. Also the Scotland-Kenya series in Jan 2007 may end up becoming a triangular including Zim, so I think the ICC is perhaps acting on what I have mentioned. Its just that Netherlands is going to play Canada and Bermuda too much, which I dont like. ICC should have seen that Netherlands is a stronger team in reality than both these countries and scheduled the games similarly, instead of just going by ICC Trophy 2005 standings. The fact that Bangaldesh IS going to tour Kenya and Zim to play matches in July is also a reinforcement of my point of view here.

    Bermuda and Canada get a tri series against Bangladesh which I dont see the point of given that these teams couldnt even match up to Zimbabwe by a mile. Also Bermuda gets a 3 match series against Kenya, which again in my opinion, is unnecesarily forcing Bermuda to punch above its weight, as anyone from Netherlands or Ireland would have been a better bet.

    But then again, we dont know what Bermuda is until they get their whole team fit and playing together for once, which they have not been able to do since the ICC Trophy 2005.

    Netherlands, in their orginal plan for 2006, had 3 ODIs against Kenya in marched which got cancelled. They also had 2 ODIs against Scotland in June which got cancelled. I guess all of these were arranged by the Netherlands board on its own, and the ICC was not backing them. It would have been good had they gone ahead with them.

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