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Associate Players in Grade Cricket

Australian Grade Cricket, to my knowledge and experience is one of the most challenging difficult cricketing circuits in the world. Though Grade Cricket is a concept of Amateur Cricket, the cricketing culture, competitive attitude, and passion for sport in Australia still makes it a top level cricket circuit for players, which is why more players from the Associate Nations need to start playing Grade Cricket in Australia. Some Sydney Grade 1 teams are considered to be stronger than Ranji Teams like Kerala, and Orissa, and certainly stronger than many of the first class teams in Bangladesh, which is why you would see an Australian First Class Side beating India by 10 wickets in a tour match.

 I fail to understand why more players from the Asian and East Asia Pacific spend 2 or 3 summers down in Australia playing 1st grade cricket with a strong club in Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne. I only see positives. Rather than boards spending huge amounts sending teams for frequent tours to India and Srilanka, Associate Nations with some money (Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, PNG, UAE, Kuwait, Thailand) should send their best 5 or 6 players down under to play even if it means starting at 3rd grade and working your way up the ladder. Clubs usually help overseas players find jobs, and once that is sorted out, the Country Board does not have to bear the brunt of the costs for the players career, except to fly him back for tournaments once in a while. 

 Grade Cricket would really strengthen these players mental attitudes, and endurance levels, while instilling in them the passion, seriousness, and toughness, to play high quality international cricket for their countries. Players from these countries are also exposed to a wide variety of quality batsmen and bowlers who help strengthen their games. Fast Bowlers, and Batsmen could really benefit from the traditional expertise the Aussies are known to have in their abilities to bowl and play fast bowling, in a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by fast bowlers.

Categories: Cricket Development
  1. November 7, 2006 at 8:17 am

    It would strengthen the players, but there are restrictions on the number of overseas players in grades 1-5.

    When I played in Sydney in ’99-’00, there was a maximum of three overseas players in grades 1-5. I was the fourth to turn up at my club, so got stuck in sixth grade with a team of 14-year-olds. Andrew Strauss played first grade. An Essex 2nd XI player starred for the 2s. And another Essex player struggled in 5th grade.

    There are huge numbers of English, Kiwis, Saffers, Irish, Scots, and other players from Test and ODI countries heading Down Under every season. Malaysians, Nepalese, Americans, etc, might struggle to get a look in. They might also battle to get through Australia’s strict immigration policies.

    My advice would be to apply early, and not be surprised if, when they turn up at the club, to be told to piss off and find a pub to play for. I speak from experience.

  2. November 7, 2006 at 12:47 pm


    Is grade 1 cricket a paid job?
    Also, how many teams are we talking about in Grade 1 cricket? I think all of Oteino, Sibanda, maybe Payangara are playing in Grade Cricket in Australia….. I guess, if your assessment of the standard is correct, they are better off playing Grade 1 cricket in Australia than they would be playing even the domestic competitiion in say…. Bangladesh/India?

  3. Tom Lewis
    November 7, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    I understand that a number of Irish cricketers head down under each year. I know Niall O’Brien has played grade cricket and this summer Trevor Brittain, Chris Dougherty and David Rankin have gone to play cricket in New Zealand.

    It would be interesting to find out just how many associate cricketers were playing down under.

  4. Art Needham
    November 7, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    I don’t know of too many Grade 1 players being paid down here.

    The capital cities are not the only place to play in for ompetition that is strong. Check this link out below to have a look at the website of a team that plays in the competition just west of Brisbane.

    You will note that they welcome overseas players and make some comments about work.

    Playing in this type of competition for one year would give a very good grounding in the ‘ways’ of Australian cricket and perhaps pave the way for a capital city season.

  5. rego
    November 7, 2006 at 4:34 pm

    Grade 1 cricket isn’t a paid job. If contracted as an overseas player, one does get a contract and a job placement by the club, but then again you would have to be a Kennedy Obuya, Eoin Morgan, or Arshad Ali, to get that kind of offer. Angus brings up a good point, one I hadn’t thought of. Immigration would be a bit of a problem, and for the Nepalese or Kuwaitis, it might be easier to play in Pakistan or India.

    I don’t know if Malaysians, Nepalese, etc. would struggle that much. I know quite a few Malaysians and HOng Kong boys who have played 1st grade cricket in Sydney and Melbourne.

    There’s a bloke from Lancashire who’s just turned up for the Aussie summer named Paul Horton. He’s played Lancashire 2nd’s and a couple of 1st team games. He’s walked straight into the ACT Comets team. I know ACT cricket is weaker than the rest, but its still pretty good.

    I know its only 2 or 3 overseas players per club, but there are dozens of good clubs in the big cities. Sydney has 30 odd grade clubs, and one doesn’t even have to play as an overseas player. There are dozens of people from the test countries who simply play as normal players which means they have to work their way up the system, which is alright.

    I happen to think most of the Nepalis, SIngaporeans, Malaysians etc would manage 2nd grade..A few would manage 1st..in a good club in Sydney or Brisbane…and it would help their games a fair bit.

    PS: An Essex player struggling in 5th grade? Something definitely seems wrong there mate..

  6. rego
    November 7, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    Certainly better of than playing in Bangladesh..Club cricket in Australia is also much stronger than in some of the smaller states in India..though Bengal Karnataka Mumbai Hyderabad Punjab..etc..would be alright I guess…I would still prefer grade cricket..for the toughness it instills in you and the improved ability to play and bowl fast..I think one-day cricket has become a fast bowling game..you don’t see many specialist spinners around anymore.

  7. Art Needham
    November 7, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    Having umpired across many countries I am sure most Nepalese, Singaporean or Malaysian etc would struggle in Australian metropolitan 2nd grade at present.

    I can’t remember seeing Paul Horton’s name in the list of 29 players I last looked at for the Canberra Comets. The Comets are an interesting team but the local district representative team would certainly run them very close.

  8. Cuen Lucas
    November 7, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    A handful of the Danish players have played club cricket in Australia, Mickey Lund, Carsten Pedersen, and Soren Vestergaard, but to name a few. So If people will travel across the world, it backs up your question about EA/P players

  9. rego
    November 7, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    Well I know 2 or 3 Malaysians (Navaratnam, Matt William) who’ve played 1st grade in Melbourne and Sydney + a couple of Hong Kong boys who have played 1st grade (French, Haider) Nepal have been to the U-19 World Cup, and this year beat South Africa and NewZealand. All of the Australian U-19 that played this year are playing Grade 1 in Melbourne (Moises, Cooper, Doropoulos, Sheridan, Ritchard) and or First Class Cricket. If the Nepal U-19 team can match the test teams at the same level, and you have the U-19s of the test teams playing First Class cricket, certainly some of the Nepalis would play Grade 1.
    Neil Maxwell from Fiji plays Grade 1s/2s in Sydney right now.

    Most of the Scots, Irish, Kenyans who come here play 1st grade, Davison played for SA, Heaney (Canada) has played First Class cricket, so in that regard as well, I’m sure the best of Malaysians, Singaporeans, Nepalis, Papuans n Fijians could make it.

    Paul Horton just arrived a couple of weeks ago. Check the summer squad. Yeah the Comets are probably much weaker than the major first class teams, however they do have a good team this year with Mark Higgs back. They thrashed both the Tasmania 2nds and WA 2nds this year in the CA Cup..I would like to see them back in the main first class comp…they would survive..at the least.

    Art..Where have you umpired? just out of curiousity..

  10. Art Needham
    November 7, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    Where have I umpired?

    England, Canada, USA, South Africa, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Thailand, China, Holland, Barbados.

    Travel with my job always found me somewhere near a cricket game. I think in most cases folks were happy to have someone ‘unbiased’ to stand in a game for a day or two. I am back doing my formal studies for umpiring because I have decided to stop most of my travel and concentrate on a couple of projects at home.

    Have done two 3rd division matches, a 1st division and an U 15 girls championship match since I have been back. Have a 2nd division match this Saturday and the following week.

    Best seat in the house.

  11. rego
    November 8, 2006 at 2:03 am

    Where are you doing your formal studies in umpiring?..Are you based in australia now?

  12. fred
    November 8, 2006 at 2:51 am

    Koe Irie, the biggest hitting Japanese player, has recently moved to Sydney to play with Waverly.Dont know how he is faring, but he will come back a far more dangerous player regardless of what grade he plays. Other Japanese players have in the past played with Valleys (Benaud, Hayden etc’s club).
    Japan and Australia have a working holdiay agreement (same for NZ). Most Japanese players wouldn’t get a look in for a grade side, but even playing for (and training regularly with)a rank and file local club would see them rise above other J-players.

  13. Art Needham
    November 8, 2006 at 4:38 am

    1. Based in Brisbane umpiring now in Ipswich and West Moreton. Great set of folks the umpires here.

    2. Hayden plays for Valleys in Brisbane. Benaud from memory played with Cumberland CC which is now Parramatta CC.

    3. Waverley CC is in Melbourne.

  14. November 8, 2006 at 5:58 am

    I think working holiday agreements with associate countries are key. Without one it would be difficult for someone a) to survive financially in Australia for a season, and b) get a holiday visa for that period.

    Grade cricket is ruthless and cut-throat. Most foreigners struggle. Straussy only averaged mid-twenties in first grade over two seasons, though Niall O’Brien, who came after I left, performed well. When you come back home after a season of grade cricket, my god, you notice a difference. There’s no better arena for sharpening your game. You get 13-year-olds facing Brett Lee in the nets.

    Another great aspect of it is the coaching and practice skills you learn. Associate players can take that home with them, and instill some of the professionalism in their domestic set-up.

    Davison is in a different category, as he grew up in domestic Aus cricket, before being signed as the club pro in Toronto, and playing for Canada.

    French of Hong Kong has sadly given up cricket. He’s a mate from uni – a class player, who could’ve played international level at any sport.

  15. fred
    November 8, 2006 at 5:35 pm

    Waverly in Sydney is now Eastern Suburbs DCC, so it seems. Ko had a run in 4th grade last weekend, 21 not out.
    The standard of umpiring in Associates would also benefit from having their players play in Australia.

  16. rego
    November 8, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    I’m interested to know how Japan and Indonesia would match up to some of the Asian Teams..the Middle Eastern Sides..Maldives. Thailand..etc..Is Ko in Australia specifically to play cricket?

  17. Art Needham
    November 8, 2006 at 8:04 pm


    Thank you for that advice about Waverley. Frankly i can’t keep up with the mergers and name changes and the new ones coming in.

    Yes grade cricket is tough here and so in most cases is training. My wife and I were on our way to one of those annoting functions that demands you presence by 7 but refuses to serve food until 9.30. We stopped off at a take away chicken shop and parked next to one of the local cricket ovals to watch paractice while we ate. Thankfully my wife is a cricket tragic.

    The under age teams’ training was just finished and all the batters were lined up to face a few balls from the senior grades’ pace battery who were just warming up. Not one flinch just solid concentration. The club in question might not have a Brett Lee playing for them but they have a couple who are pretty slippery and they weren’t holding back on the youngsters either.

  18. fred
    November 8, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    I believe Ko moved first and foremost to improve his cricket. It wasn’t a work/family move or anything like that.

  19. Art Needham
    November 13, 2006 at 12:43 am

    With the East Asia Pacific cricket squad currently trainig in Toowoomba (about an hour’s drive west of me) comes the news that Tatsuro Chino the Japanese wicket keeper will play grade cricket in Brisbane after the camp is finished.

  20. November 13, 2006 at 2:58 am

    That is good news for Japan….. but I must say, that Japan was quite weak in their last outing against even the likes of Cook Islands, so they have a way to go………..

    So why cant these Nepalese guys get an oppurtunity to play grade cricket if Japanese players are getting the spots? Is it a matter of awareness? Work Visas? exposure?

  21. Art Needham
    November 13, 2006 at 3:28 am

    Interesting question about the work visas. Given that we have a shortage of labour here in some areas I need to follow this up.

    The question is of course does someone from Nepal want to come and play in Australia? Silly question I guess but he would have to pay his own way for the cricket season either by working or by someone paying him living money.

    I have a meeting tomorrow night where I might bring this up and see what answers I can get over time.

  22. rego
    November 13, 2006 at 3:30 am

    I would say awareness + plus its much easier for the Nepalese to hop across to India to play. I don’t think visas should pose too much of a problem..just a long wait..

    I stand my statement that grade cricket is the absolute perfect place for an Associate cricketer to hone his skills. Perfect for someone like Binod Das or Mehboob Alam…for heavens sakes he should have come to Australia instead of going to Qatar..

  23. rego
    November 13, 2006 at 3:32 am

    A season in Australia for a Nepali player would certainly have to be payed for by ACC, Cricket Association of Nepal or a corporate sponsor..The unwillingness by anybody to put money into a venture like this is the other major problem..

  24. November 14, 2006 at 5:38 pm


    Cant the Nepalese player go ahead and play in the Grade Cricket in Australia and also find a job to fund his own stay? I am afraid that there is no way that CAN can fund a player’s stay in Australia for 2-3 months…… its just too expensive for South Asian countries to sponsor players like this.

    But perhaps, some commericial organization can sponsor the player’s trip. 3-4 organziations sponsoring 3-4 players in Australia……. should improve the overall standard of the team a bit……

    Nepal managed to telecast their ACC Premier league games live on their tv…. and people watched them as well…… good for everyone involved, including sponsors….. there are only 2-3 countries that can, at the momment, telecast their OWN team’s second tier matches and expect a viewing. Nepal, Bermuda, Kenya perhaps, Maldives telecasted ther final of their domestic tournament…….. Afghanistan will have the viewership, but telecasting wont be an option….. Uganda perhaps…….

  25. November 14, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    Rego, give an estimate of what kind of cost in $ are we looking at for a player to go and play grade cricket in Australia for 1 season?

  26. rego
    November 15, 2006 at 6:25 am

    hrmm….including everything, I would say…MINIMUM…Aus. $250-280…which would be like $200 or 220 US $ roughly…Its very very easy to get a part time job that pays..$20 an hour….and one can even get two or three..so i reckon it shouldnt be too hard for one to fund himself..for a season or two..

  27. November 15, 2006 at 3:21 pm

    Thats it!?!?!?!?! $220 for a full season of grade cricket in Australia?!?!?!? how is that possible? Where will the guy stay and what will he eat? How long is the stay?

    At $220, CAN can easily fund 9 players every year (total $2K). They can choose 4 batsmen and 3 bowlers. It not domestic cricket in a test country, but it is club cricket in the best cricket country in the world.

    In fact, Nepal websites like cricketnepal etc can collect funds and put $2K together and fund trips like this privately, instead of CAN getting involved……

  28. rego
    November 15, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    Per month my man!!

  29. rego
    November 15, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    hahahaa..ofcourse not..sorry..shouldve been more clear..that would be PER WEEK

  30. rego
    November 15, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    disregard the per month comment..:)

  31. November 16, 2006 at 4:23 am

    ok, that makes more sense….. that means about 800-900 dolalrs per month…….. how long is the season? 3-4 months? that would make $3200-4000 cost per player…….

    hmmmmm….. CAN may still be able to work something out for at least 2 batsmen and 2 bowlers……… The thing is that Cricket is such a limited oppurtunity for Nepal, that it would not make financial sense for many player to just give up their jobs and go to Australia and play cricket every year for 4 months……………. its not like they have a full calender waiting for them when they get back………

    But I think that the HPP Countries can definitely look at Aus….. Netherlands, Bermuda, Kenya (they are already in the process), and perhaps Canada (though the same logic of job holds)…….. Ireland and Scotland find it easier to get into English county cricket……….

  32. November 16, 2006 at 4:35 am

    Hi Nasir!

    I am watching you discussion for long time….and waiting for a result….i found..but too expensive for the Neplese players….We fans are thinking to let contribute and ask the help form corporate houses…but i don’t see any possiblity in this amount. I would like to thank you…..


  33. rego
    November 16, 2006 at 5:42 am

    I agree with you on that point..Theres just no way an average Nepali can take the economic, social risk of simply playing cricket in Australia for 5-6 months every year..With such a large following, CAN should be able to professionalize the sport there even now..with the help of a few corporate sponsors..Yeah County cricket makes alot more sense for players from Ireland and Scotland, though they do tend to get lured away from their home countries. In Australia, there are almost no opportunities for foreign players seeking a contract based state career. Sean Irvine, and Travis Friend from Zimbabwe haven’t even made the WA team. Irvine is not even playing 2nd 11 cricket.

    However, I think even compared to the famed County System, the Australian system is alot more efficient and competitive. Because there are only 7 or 8 state teams, there are only 140 contracted players in the country. However, in England there’s alot more room for average cricketers in one of the 20 odd counties around. A talented 1st grade cricketer from Sydney or smth. would easily make the grade at one of the weaker county teams in England.

  34. November 16, 2006 at 12:38 pm


    A similar stint in Pak domestic would cost CAN around Rs1000/day per player (good hotel, good food, good transportation)………. for 4 months, it would equal Rs120000, which is roughly $2K, so $500 per month. 2 bowlers and 2 batsmen, it would basically be $8K per year…….

    I think that is more doable……

    But before all that happens, CAN needs to professionalize their squad of 16 so that at least the players are available and willing to do something like this (give up their regular job and improve skills in a foreign land)

    I think CAN has to first start off with giving at least 15K Nepalese rupees per month to 4 of its best players (2 bowlers and 2 batsmen). That would make $10K……

    So you are talking about $10 needed per year to professionalize the 4 players, and on top of that, another $8K needed for training in Pak for them …….

    Another $30K would be needed to salary the remaining 12 players of the squad, even if they are not sent for HPP Training in Pak every year…… but these 12 can be done one at a time, and can be based on what funds are available etc……

    Even if only 2 pro batsmen and 2 pro bowlers Nepal should be able to do better than what it does today……

  35. November 16, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    Also, while a $20K amount may be too steep for Nepal at the momment, it shouldnt be too steep for Netherlands, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland and Scotland….. plus these countries also have a calender so the player would be able to show off the improvement after he comes back…….

    The basic problem however is that of the players regular job. It seems that a lot ‘can’ be done, but isnt possible because of this amateur-pro transition affecting the player’s availability…… except for Bermuda and Kenya, I think it effects every other team………….

  36. November 17, 2006 at 3:05 am

    Thank you Nasir for your great contribution for the development of Nepali Cricket. I will discuss with my friends regarding your suggesation and try to work for it….and i would also except same type of openion and suggesation will be alwasy getting from this site for development of our cricket.

    Once again would like to thank you! and Rigo you too.


  37. November 17, 2006 at 3:06 am

    Thank you Nasir for your great contribution for the development of Nepali Cricket. I will discuss with my friends regarding your suggesation and try to work for it….and i would also except same type of openion and suggesation will be alwasy getting from this site for development of our cricket.

    Once again would like to thank you! and Rego you too.


  38. Art Needham
    November 19, 2006 at 2:30 pm

    I have been away for a few days and back for umpiring at the weekend just gone.

    The season in this district started on September 30 and goes until February 24 with the semi finals March 3 and 4 and the finals 10, 11, 17, 18 March. There is a break before and after Christmas. So that is 5 months plus.

    The costs here are really a little more expensive than $200 week in reality because accomodation costs would have been worked out. We have a frined for example who boards international students and for room and all meals it is $180 per week. That provides very nice surroundings and is much better than finding accommodation in a hotel or boarding house for anywhere near that money. Of course sharing a flat or house might be available and that would drop the board costs but you have the price of food etc to add to that.

    On the down side I would hope that any player who made it out here from one of the countries mentioned never played in a match like I umpired on saturday. A replacement which is allowable because he was nominated the week before played with a attitude problem that was the worst I have seen in a long time. The first day was a pleasure the second day of the match thoroughly unpleasant because of one person. hate to think a visitor got the idea all cricket was played like that here.

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