Home > Cricket Development > Opinion: ICC seriously lacks benchmarking tournaments

Opinion: ICC seriously lacks benchmarking tournaments

Previously in one of my entries, I have mentioned that we dont know how Scotland, Netherlands, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Ireland rank with each other. The only thing we know is that Bangladesh is better than Kenya at the momment. But is Zimbabwe, that thrashed Canada and Bermuda recently, actually better than Scotland, Netherlands and Ireland? Bear in mind that Kenya drew 2-2 with Zimbabwe recently and that Kenya was almost beaten by Netherlands at home, while being beaten outright by Ireland in the last Intercontinental cup final.

There should be the following 6 nation, single round robin (no pools please!) tournaments held every year, sometimes twice in the year:

Ban, Zim, Sco, Ned, Ire, Ken (if Zim is worse than the others, then why waste time on them given that they dont really want to play cricket in the first place)
Sco, Ned, Ire, Ken, Ber, Can (this is the world league div 1 which IS scheduled by the ICC, but should be scheduled once or twice every year, not once in 4 years as is currently the case)
Ber, Can, Den, Uga, Nam, UAE (UAE would love to host this tournament and may even give free lodging and airfare to the other teams)
Nam, Den, Uga, Nepal, Afghanistan, PNG (a bit of common sense and subjective choosing based on country potential and following)

So 4 tournaments, perhaps they can be played 2 times in the year making 8 total tournaments over 12 months. The 3rd and 4th tournament can actually be done in a week's time each, while the 1st and 2nd tournament will take perhaps 2 weeks to finish. So we are talking about a total tournament time of 14*4 + 7*4 = approximately 3 months of cricket. I dont think its going to cost the ICC that much to hold all of these tournaments. They can also say that they will bear the cost only for the tickets, while the teams will need to bear the cost of the hotels, like they have done before. The tournaments can be held in countries where its not going to be that expensive i.e. Uganda, Namibia, Nepal, UAE, Kenya, Bangladesh or Zimbabwe.

What I dont get is, in the ICCs current program, Bermuda and Canada are being given a go at Ban and Zim. Thats pointless given that Bermuda lost 4-0 to UAE and 1-0 to Namibia right after they qualified for the World Cup. And Canada is a sorry tale altogether; they lost even to Bermuda.

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Categories: Cricket Development
  1. Ram
    June 20, 2006 at 1:33 pm

    Yes, Good post that! The performance by Ireland in the ODI against England really makes me feel if they are good enough to beat Zim and/or fight it out against Bangladesh. In fact, Bangladesh ALMOST lost an ODI against Ireland a couple of years ago but for an unlikely boundary by Tapash Baisya off the penultimate ball to avoid embarassment!

    However, I just feel that in this entire lineup, we’re missing two promising countries Argentina and Italy. Though they may not be as good as Nam or Den or even PNG, I feel they should be given exposure to these tournaments in order to fast track them to the level of these Associate countries.

    Also, Don’t you think that Afghanistan and Nepal are good enough to take on Canada or Bermuda? Given that Bermuda lost badly in UAE and Canada lost to Bermuda while Afghanistan have been thrashing whoever they’ve come against and Nepal have matched UAE in last year’s Intercontinental Cup, I think these 2 countries should also join the 6 other countries, namely Ber, Can, Den, Ugan, Nam and UAE while Argentina and Italy can replace these 2 countries in the last tournament you’ve mentioned.

    I would definitely like to hear your comments on this..

  2. June 20, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    Well, if Nepal and Afghanistan start beating Nam, Den and Uga, then I guess they should try them out in the 2nd tournament, replacing whosoever they beat.

    Italy is decent, but I think they are an import based team, with 50% of their natioanl team being from outside of Italy, though Italian by ethnicity. Secondly, their domestic teams show only about 33% italians, the other being expats. Thats much worse than Denmark (64%) or Netherlands (78%).

    Argentina loses to Caymans all the time, and Caymans loses to Nepal/Fiji/PNG etc very easily, even to Qatar/Kuwait etc. So I hope they have improved this time around because ICC seems to not give much attention until someone starts winning the regional tournaments.

    So no, at the momment I would not like to add Argentina and Italy to these tournaments. At the momment I think it is imperative that the standard of the top associates is raised quickly, instead of getting everyone to play the game, even if they field a team of recent expats!

  3. Ram
    June 20, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    oh.ok..Thanks for that info about Italy and Argentina!…Do you have any idea about the team rankings beyond 30 (ICC has only ranked the top 30 nations)?

    A look at the indigenous cricket following/playing numbers in the next maybe 20 (31-50) nations might be useful considering that many countries in the top 30 like USA, Canada, Oman, UAE, Bermuda, PNG, Cayman Islands etc. all have either very low indigenous cricket following or very low population levels, neither of which is going to be useful in the context of “expanding” the game to newer horizons!

    Maybe there are more countries like Argentina, Tanzania or Japan which are outside the top 30 but have their share of indigenous players playing the game and maybe you can throw more light on this..I’ll also try to get some info about such countries..

  4. June 21, 2006 at 1:05 am

    Ram,

    Beyond 30, there is only guess work. In fact, the WCQS Div III was pooled, so some of the top 30 rankings are probably not a 100% correct either.

    Secondly, PNG has more than 95% indegenous players and following, and its a country of 5 million, so its not small either.

    Tanzania, I am afraid, is an expat based team. Their whole team is full of South Asians. You can check this out, perhaps they have gotten new talent, but at least this was the situation 1 year back.

  5. Ram
    June 21, 2006 at 1:27 am

    Nasir..

    You seem to have this knack of finding mistakes in my posts, however small they may be ๐Ÿ˜€

    About Tanzania, my statement was based on the fact that they have a rapidly developing program for which, if I’m right, they got the ICC development awards.

    And..I find PNG having 5 million people, a bit tough to digest because even Newzealand has a population of only 4 million and I never thought PNG had as many people, if not more than NZ!

    As always, thanks for the corrections ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. June 21, 2006 at 1:37 am

    Ram, didnt they get development award for the womens program? and not the mens? If you go to http://www.tanzaniacricket.com, you can actually see the pics of their national team. Only their women’s team is indegenous ๐Ÿ™‚ U19 team is partially indegenous.

  7. June 21, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    Regarding whether Nepal and Afghanistan are good enough to take on Bermuda and Canada, I think that would depend upon what happens in the ACC Trophy this year. UAE is supposed to be the strongest team in that tournament, but given the recent performance of Afghanistan, I think it will be interesting to see what happens. But the main problem with the ACC Trophy is, that its pool based without any seedings. So even if Afghanistan is the second strongest team, they may end up getting a quarter final with UAE and get knocked out.

  8. Ram
    June 21, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    Yes, And that’s because the ACC doesn’t have a ranking system for its Associate members that can be used as a basis for pooling the teams in the ACC tournaments so that only the best teams qualify for the subsequent World Cup qualifiers or other ICC tournaments..

  9. June 21, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    I’m not so sure about the make up of the Tanzania squad – the 6 definitely indigenous players were some of the best for them in the Atul Shah tourney. Also, just going by the ethnic make up on Kenya’s coast, i would say a large proportion of those others could well have been born in Tanzania, and their families may easily be several generations old in the area.
    I’m looking forward to a good rivalry developing between the 3 East African sides in the years ahead.

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