Home > Cricket Development > Opinion: Incorporating the associates into the top flight…..

Opinion: Incorporating the associates into the top flight…..

I think too much has been made about how difficult it will be for the associates to be incorporated into the international ODI schedule of the top teams.

I am going to suggest a few things in this post. Cricket today has a few divisions. There are the big 8, then Ban/Zim, then the elite associates (6 of them). I am going to make a standard tournament, a double round robin triangular with a final (7 matches in all, can be done in 10-14 days).

What I would like to suggest is that such a triangular be held for 2 elite associates and 1 test team in the following manner.

In the first year after ICC Trophy, hold the following triangulars:

Elite Rank 1, India, Elite Rank 2
Elite Rank 1, New Zealand, Elite Rank 2
Elite Rank 3, Pakistan, Elite Rank 4
Elite Rank 5, South Africa, Elite Rank 6
Elite Rank 1, Zimbabwe, Elite Rank 2
Elite Rank 3, Bangladesh, Elite Rank 4
Elite Rank 5, Zimbabwe, Elite Rank 6

In the second year after ICC Trophy, hold the following triangulars:

Elite Rank 1, Australia, Elite Rank 2
Elite Rank 1, West Indies, Elite Rank 2
Elite Rank 3, Sri lanka, Elite Rank 4
Elite Rank 5, England, Elite Rank 6
Elite Rank 1, Bangladesh, Elite Rank 2
Elite Rank 3, Bangladesh, Elite Rank 4
Elite Rank 5, Zimbabwe, Elite Rank 6

Years 3 and 4 can be duplicates of years 1 and 2 (or you can swap some of the big 8 teams around to provide variety to the associates). Also, I would like to see the ODI status sticking with the elite associate till the END of the ICC trophy year, because you want to give them 4 full years, and the ODI status does not come into the picture till the year AFTER the ICC Trophy.

I think this plan is good, because:

a) it will not get much opposition from the Big 8, because they are going to be playing the associates for only 14 days once every TWO years (only 5 ODIs) ,  

b) Zim and Bangladesh will get about 7-8 extra ODIs per year, which given their current situation and marketability will be very good for them. It is better than sitting at home doing nothing. (I am assuming that both Ban and Zim will be getting about 15 ODIs and 6 tests against the big 8 every year anyway)

c) the associates will get a very good outing, and will be incorporated into the global scene in a serious manner.  

d) Finally, the triangular will maintain a bit of interest about who qualifies for the final along with the test team. Otherwise, if you have a triangular between 2 test and an associate team, then it can become a predictable/boring thing.

Now what the ICC needs to do is to incorporate these tours BEFOREHAND, when they are making the test programs. They can do it because all they need to do is to schedule it based on the standing numbers, and they can do that without knowing who exactly the top 6 elite teams are.

In addition to these, the associates are free to organize their own tours i.e. Kenya can tour Zim for a 5 match series whenever they want to, but these triangular should be a minimum and scheduled in advance.

Additionally, I would like to see the intercontinental cup games to become 5 day matches.

Finally, there should be at least 1 month long tours, featuring at least 5 FC matches, between the elite associates and the A teams from the test sides. The A teams are usually available and not doing much, so a 1 month long tour should not hurt them. Since there are 6 elite teams and 10 test teams, a strategy similar to the triangulars can be followed. Zim A and Ban A can tour 2 elite associates every year (so 2 months), while the big 8 can send their A teams once every 2 years. Either that or some other mechanism can be figured out, but the point is that A team tours, consisting primarily of 3 day FC matches should be played in significant numbers in such a tour EVERY YEAR by the elite associates.

In addition to these, other things can be done, but that should be left to the boards about what they want to do and think they can do. Filling out the calender so that they have at least 5-6 FC games, 20-25 ODIs every year should be the norm that the associates should try to follow.

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Categories: Cricket Development
  1. October 7, 2006 at 4:45 am

    Just to confirm something Nasir, from the 2009 ICC Trophy, ODI status will come into affect at the very end of the ICC Trophy. In fact, the semi finals, final, 3rd place play off and 5th place play off of the 2009 ICC Trophy will all be official ODIs. So they do get pretty much four full years.

  2. October 7, 2006 at 4:46 am

    Oh, and the final of the Intercontinental Cup will be a five day game.

  3. Cuen Lucas
    October 7, 2006 at 5:07 am

    Your program is clearly very well thought out, but I do have a question, the “Elite Rank #” countries, are those decided by the results of the ICC trophy (i.e. would Kenya be elite rank 1, Scotland elite rank 2 and Ireland #3 etc.)?

    If so, it would be a good idea to rotate the asscoiates as well so the same two teams don’t keep playing each other in every triangular tournament.

    Another spinoff benefit is that if these tournaments take place in the test nations then there’s the added benefit of playing the domestic sides, and of course, there’s also the potential for some t.v. $$

    Overall a good idea Nasir, perhaps you should suggest it to the ICC?

  4. October 7, 2006 at 5:53 am

    the “Elite Rank #” countries, are those decided by the results of the ICC trophy (i.e. would Kenya be elite rank 1, Scotland elite rank 2 and Ireland #3 etc.)?

    Well….. for the lack of an alternative…… yes……
    What I wanted to ensure was that as soon as the ICC Trophy finishes, the elite teams know what their minimum schedule is for the next 4 years, and neither them, nor the ICC is running around trying to fit in matches here and there.  

    it would be a good idea to rotate the asscoiates as well so the same two teams don’t keep playing each other in every triangular tournament.

    Sure….. although, the point is about the associate playing the test team….. associate v associate games against others can always be organized…….

    Another spinoff benefit is that if these tournaments take place in the test nations then there’s the added benefit of playing the domestic sides, and of course, there’s also the potential for some t.v. $$

    I am quite sure that the TV revenue would be there, but I think the test boards of the big 8 will not look at it this way. I remember watching such a triseries in 1997-8 in India between India/Kenya/Bangladesh………. Kenya actually managed to win one of the games, but the main thing was that, despite what people said about the weakness of the opposition, the grounds were 90% full, the games were telecast live, and there were a tonnes of tv ads………. Kenya actually managed to beat India in one of the games 🙂

    Overall a good idea Nasir, perhaps you should suggest it to the ICC?

    Ahem…. 🙂

  5. October 8, 2006 at 2:57 am

    Well….. from what I am watching right now in the Zim/WI match, it would not be a bad idea to even make the triangulars featuring Ban and Zim into triple round robin leagues instead of double.

  6. October 8, 2006 at 3:19 am

    Cuen,

    You said that the teams should be shuffled around to ensure that the same associates dont keep on playing each other…… The following format can be used for the tringulars featuring the test teams. Its the same as what I mentioned above except that I have just moved teams around:

    In the first year after ICC Trophy, hold the following triangulars:

    Elite Rank 1, India, Elite Rank 2
    Elite Rank 1, New Zealand, Elite Rank 2
    Elite Rank 3, Pakistan, Elite Rank 4
    Elite Rank 5, South Africa, Elite Rank 6

    In the second year after ICC Trophy, hold the following triangulars:

    Elite Rank 3, Australia, Elite Rank 2
    Elite Rank 5, West Indies, Elite Rank 2
    Elite Rank 1, Sri lanka, Elite Rank 4
    Elite Rank 1, England, Elite Rank 6

    In the third year after ICC Trophy, hold the following triangulars:

    Elite Rank 1, South Africa, Elite Rank 2
    Elite Rank 1, Pakistan, Elite Rank 2
    Elite Rank 3, New Zealand, Elite Rank 4
    Elite Rank 5, India, Elite Rank 6

    In the fourth year after ICC Trophy, hold the following triangulars:

    Elite Rank 3, England, Elite Rank 2
    Elite Rank 5, Sri lanka, Elite Rank 2
    Elite Rank 1, West Indies, Elite Rank 4
    Elite Rank 1, Australia, Elite Rank 6

    What this also does is that it ensures that the two best associates will get to play every big 8 team in the 4 year cycle.

  7. Cuen Lucas
    October 8, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    That’s a really good system, I like the idea of the top two Associates being able to play against every one of the top eight test countries because it adds a lot more relevance to getting into the final of the qualifying series.

    Also it gives the 6 elite teams games against different opponents in a wide variety of conditions, which is great for gathering knowledge on how to play the game in different parts of the world.

  8. Nishadh Rego
    October 9, 2006 at 4:13 am

    wow..yeah..seems like quite an efficient system..except i still can’t see triseries with Australia Bermuda and Canada happening…that just wont work for obvious reasons…I’m sure Australia would not want to host such a tournament…and wouldn’t spend 2 weeks travelling to Bermuda or Canada to play a tri series against the two…I don’t think anyone would watch such a tri-series…even on TV except for maybe a few Bermudans..This is a good concept however I think the associates should limit themselves to playing Zimbabwe Bangladesh and some of the A teams..I think a triangular between India A Bermuda and Canada would make much more sense than a triangular between Australia Bermuda and Canada..

  9. October 9, 2006 at 5:59 am

    Well…. in that case I cant forsee India, England, Pakistan or South Africa WANTING to play Bermuda either……. but it has to be done I guess for the expansion of the sport and for incorporating the associates into top flight……..

    ICC will have to take care of the costs of all these associate triangulars….. so Australia may not mind…….. now the question is that Australia may think that the other 2 are too weak, and in that case they may try their new players……… that is fine………. that will be part and parcel of the whole thing…….. the Ind/Ken/Ban series that I am talking about from 1997 was also primarily for the Indians to try out their new players…… and I think it worked well for them……

    These tournaments will be ICC events, and hence the ICC can get a bidder on them for sponsorship and television……………… if nothing works out then no transmission, but if something works out, then good enough….. ICC can probably break even on their costs…………

    btw Rego….. there would NOT be an Aus/Ber/Can triangular according to my list above…… there will be an Aus/Ken/Net….. and an Aus/Ire/Sco triangular………. that is according to the current rankings…………. now the former can be hosted by Kenya, and it probably will be shown live…….. and the latter will probably also get 5-6 people in the stadiums if held in Scotland or Ireland……………..

  10. October 9, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    btw, rego…..

    As a process after the teams are decided ….. the ICC can first ask the test nation if they would like to host the tournament……. if they dont want to, then the ICC can ask the 2 associates, in some order, if they would like to host the tournament…….. if they dont want to or cant either (will they?), then the ICC can take care of the costs and make it an ICC event……… they can still host it in the associate country, or they can even go with neutral venues like Malaysia, Morrocco, UAE etc.

    I think the execution is not the problem….. it is the will to start the process, and to first believe that this IS the way forward………

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