Home > Cricket Development > Opinion: Ramblings on player eligibility criteria….

Opinion: Ramblings on player eligibility criteria….

So I am wondering if the ICC should change their eligibility criteria in the following way: You can become a deemed national after residing in the country for 4 years, if and only if you have NOT held any paying job associated with the associate’s cricket board (or clubs) in those 4 years. See what we dont like is the idea of associates ‘hiring’ players from the subcontinent, paying them to play TO QUALIFY for the associate’s national team.

The second thing is a little strange. I was having a discussion with some people regarding their passion for the NFL teams, given that the teams are not even composed of the local players, and even the franchises move around to different cities based on incentives. They said that the Oakland Raiders or SF 49ers are ‘their’ teams, irrespective of who is playing. They say the team has our coach, our facilities, we are the patrons, and its the name of our city.

Hmmmm….. perhaps its a cultural thing…… because I would not be able to follow a Pakistan cricket team if the players were all hired from Australia…… for that there is the Australia cricket team, which I dont mind following as a seperate entity……..

To me a local/indegenous team is important becuase thats when I feel like it represents me, or my country (or city for that matter). The players tell you what can be achieved in your own country, playing with the facilities you have. In many cases, the players represent a peculiar sporting culture. Shahid Afridi for example, might be the most technically incorrect player, but his style represents Pakistan street cricket to the maximum. The battery of pace bowlers that Pakistan produces (Sami, who bowls of 95mph, is not in the reckoning anymore) represents a particular hero history (Imran, Akram, Waqar Younis)….. going to England, Australia etc requires adjusting to alien conditions….. the lack of professionalism at times only mirrors the rest of the beurocratic set up…… the internal politiking, segmentation etc. represents a culture which is quite prevalent as well in Pakistan……… of course, the religious aspect is also there….. a player prostrating after scoring a century, or taking a five wicket haul would many Pakistanis happy…………. Moreover, the team and the standing of a country also represents their general attitude to the game……. some past colonies of Britain perhaps overtly do NOT want to play cricket, because of the connotations………. in that case, would it make sense if they had a national team comprising of, say, 11 players from London??

So the question is…… what if….. and this is one big sidewinder……. any country was able to field anyone? Would people follow that team? I mean, would the people in UAE start following the UAE team if the players were all recruited from Australia? They would use the UAE brand name, use their colors, use their facilities, use their money……… would that make it a UAE cricket team?

Categories: Cricket Development
  1. Cuen Lucas
    October 26, 2006 at 3:02 pm

    Nasir, looking at your example of a UAE team made entirely of Australian or English players, I think the big danger isn’t so much the team not having a following, it’s that cricket could be viewed as an foreigners game.
    It could have the UAE name, colours, and badge but if the locals looked at it and saw nothing but Aussie and English players, it would create the perception that cricket is only for those circles only.

    Now your point about paying players for the duration of their four year qualifacation period is a very important one, not just to stop associate boards simply hiring players, but also because the money spent could instead be invested in things like development etc.

  2. October 26, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    As far as I can recall, Toronto Blue Jays features almost all US based players….. and also the Toronto Raptors…… so at least in the Canada-US perspective, the Canadians have not started looking at Baseball, or Basketball as a foreign sport……..

  3. Nishadh Rego
    October 26, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    I think your confusing national identity with city franchises. I don’t think its a cultural thing in that respect..its just an issue of National Identity versus supporting a City team or a Franchise..In American Basketball, you might have Torontans supporting the Raptors even though they have American players, however you certainly will not see a Canadian Basketball team ever being allowed foreign players. I don’t think a national team can ever be made a franchise wherein it can buy players from other countries, and still effectively gain backing from the government and the masses. It just doesn’t work that way. I, as an Indian, might be an ardent fan of Manchester United, and would support them even if they played a match against Mohan Bagan (a team from Calcutta), however if the Indian team made it to the Soccer World Cup, there’s no way I would support England over India. If India bought foreign players, which wouldn’t be allowed by FIFA anyway, it wouldn’t be an Indian team anymore to me as an Indian.

    On the other hand, I do support the Thailand Soccer Team, and wouldn’t mind really if they beat India in a soccer match as has happened over the last couple of years. However, at least I would know that both teams were fair and square representations of the both populations, cultures, and sporting styles.

  4. October 31, 2006 at 7:20 am

    I had another discussion with an american today about why he supported Pittsburgh Steelers…….. I asked him if he would have supported the same team if it was called Budwieser Steelers…….. he said yes…… but upon my asking why people quickly associated with the team as soon as the franchise moved to the city despite the fact that the players did not represent local talent, he gave me an interesting answer…..

    he asked me if I went to a Best buy to get a flat panel TV…. it would be mine, and I would be showing it off and being pleased about the fact that I own it…….. this would be despite the fact that I have not assembled, or manufactured the tv myself….. I have just purchased it !!

    Needless to say, I was speechless after this answer, and will perhaps not try to understand the logic any further….. the question is, if this is generally the case in the world, then why 100 people came to support Canada v Kenya in Toronto, and why less than 50 come to watch UAE matches in Dubai/Sharjah? People should just go ahead and back the team because, well, its their name !

    btw…. a lot of Ice Hockey franchises in the US have non US players in them…. mostly from Canada, but many even from Europe…..

  5. Cuen Lucas
    November 1, 2006 at 8:08 am

    There’s something to keep in mind here Nasir, sports like NFL,NHL,NBA, etc. are already established and are regarded as as being American despite having a lot of foreigners playing the game.
    Now cricket is a lot of the Associates is a very different matter, it’s still being established as a proper mainstream sport, even though it has been played for over a century in some cases (Ned,Den,USA,Can). Now, if cricket had an established identity within associates, there wouldn’t be much of a problem. BUT that isn’t the case so it will be judged on whether or not it’s a mainstream sport by the people playing it, so if there are a lot of PERCIEVED foreigners (even though they could be born or even born AND bred) cricket will only be associated with that particular group.

  6. November 1, 2006 at 11:30 am

    Makes sense….. I can accept it…… in fact, it goes to explain why Cricket does not get percieved as a foreign sport in say….. England….. when players like Peterson, Joyce, Hick, Lamb all make it to the team……. its not that big of an issue over there…..

    as they say, the first impression is the last…… cricket is not exactly making a first impression in England……..

  7. Bruce Gaskell
    November 1, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    If you’ve ever cheered on a team from your local town with 10,000 others you’ll know it’s very easy to form an emotional bond with them, even if many of the players are foreign.
    In domestic leagues rivalrys are about localism and regionalism, people don’t mind seeing foreign players, A)because it is not practical these days to have a team made up of entirely local players.
    B)being foreign is better than being from your local rivals.

    Unfortunately, due to globalisation theres no logical reason why the same shouldn’t happen with national teams. But I sincerely hope it doesnt…

    “as they say, the first impression is the last…… cricket is not exactly making a first impression in England”
    Not sure what you mean exactly… our woeful ODI team or our football obsessed media?

  8. March 10, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    The issue of team support is interesting in the modern era. It no longer a hypothetical situation for a country to be represented by “naturalised citizens”. Note that the composition of the national track teams for qatar, Bahrain etc are Kenyans and Moroccans. Their wins in international competitions are celebrated….the national flag and uniform are key symbols here. The French national soccer team is popular when it wins as all identify with success…but when Zidane head butts an Italian, he is Algerian! A team only gives a rallying point and when we win so much the better. When the team loses, we point fingers!

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