Opinion: More money is needed….
I think that the ICC needs to look into their ‘funding prize’ for the elite associates a little bit more. I understand that they keep on comparing it with what they used to give in the past, but they have to take into account that things change. If they gave $20K to the ICC Trophy winner in 1975, it may have been enough, but today even a $1 million for 4 years is not enough. In order to raise the standard of the current associates to the test team level, at least to be competitive, the ICC has to dish out more money.
My estimate was that they need to invest at least $1mil a year, i.e. the prize for the top 6 associates in the ICC trophy has to be about $4mil. That would make it $24mil over a 4 year period, and I seriously dont think the ICC would have that much of a trouble with that. $1mil a year would jumpstart a lot of countries to improve themselves dramatically, and will perhaps jumpstart their cricketing economy so that they start becoming contributers to the game instead of being on the recieving end. Just having 50K people following the game on TV in Ireland or Scotland or Holland is going to bring in a lot of TV revenue for the ICC, and also for Test Countries.
$1mil may sound like a lot of money, but it actually isnt when you think of the fact that Zim gets close to $10-15mil (i think) a year (or maybe 2 years?) from ICCs share of test country revenues. Given that, I think a number 10 to 15 times less for the next few teams is not that much. ICC doesnt have a TV policy either so all of the 4 needed things for associates now cost a lot of money…… i.e. better facilities, pro players, large playing base and esp challenging tours…….