Home > Cricket Development > Opinion: Expats to the party again…

Opinion: Expats to the party again…

The question about expats comes up, and questions are raised about ICC’s development process whenever a result comes about like the recent WCL Div 2. UAE and Oman finished in the top 2 spots, while Uganda, a promising team with a development programme including 30K kids, and completely indegenous team, got knocked out.

About a year ago, we were essentially talking on simillar lines. The occasion in that case was Norway getting into European Div 1, at the expense of Jersey. Norway had, and probably still has 250 cricketers, with all of them being Pakistani expats.

Upon looking at the performance of UAE and Oman in WCL Div 2, I looked up ACC Trophy 2006 results. Saudi Arabia came pretty close to beating UAE, while Bahrain and Singapore both beat Oman, which had almost the same team as they do now. This makes  you ask the question about what would happen in case Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain were also in WCL Div 2; would they have upstaged the likes of Namibia, Denmark and Uganda as well?

At some level all of this is very disappointing. Let us, rather sinfully, ignore the fact that UAE was playing 8 born and bred players this time. I will try to explain the thought process without making any judgements on those who think otherwise (that seems to be ICC at this point in time).

Cricket expansion basically means that people of different countries are actually playing the sport. In a game like cricket, which is country based, the team is not a franchise, its a team comprising of players from that country. The team represents a lot of the characteristics of the country by itself, and also the way the game is played over there. In Pakistan, where the game is mostly learnt in the streets, the batsmen will be technically challenged, but with excellent hitting abilities, and great hand eye coordintion. Good spin bowlers will be rare, but pace bowlers will be aplenty … and very quick. The players are very inconsistent, with the ability to start fighting back from an absolutely hopeless situation, to also sometimes create a hopeless situation for themselves from a position of strength. In addition to that, the stories about the players and their rise to the top are identifiable by the locals, which fosters interest amongst the general public. Most importantly, the fact that the team is made of indegenous locals means that there are enough people playing the sport that the ‘expats’ are marginalized, because, really, if your team is made up of expats, you cannot go higher than a certain standard.

A promosing UAE u15 player, when asked about what his future plans are, mentioned that his dream is to play for India. Another promising UAE player from the same team (or maybe U17) mentioned that he would like to play for Pakistan. There is a reason why UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia cannot get any crowds to come and watch their games, while Nepal can get 20K people to come and watch their U19 team, and Afghanistan can get 10K people to come and receive the team after beating emerging teams ! A year or 2 back, Maldives gave their team a presidential honour for winning a tournament featuring Thailand and some other asian team. The team was paraded through the streets, with the president coming out to receive them on a red carpet ! UAE players like Khurram Khan can sometimes not get time off from work because their employers ask them what cricket is !

Standard cannot be everything. Common Sense also needs to be used. Countries like Ireland, Kenya, Scotland, Nepal, Afghanistan and Uganda are the ‘real’ developing sides. They are the ones that have done something right for a while in terms of development, or have something in them which demands a little more attention. Countries like Canada, Oman etc are perhaps not the way forward, or at least, should not be the way forward. ICC always points to the fact that the game historically spread like this everywhere. First of all, something that happenned 150 years back, or 100 years back, does not mean that the world will work exactly in the same way today. Secondly, it was not a successful model. It may have worked in SA and Aus, but it did not work in USA, Canada, Argentina, African countries like Siera Leone/Uganda, and even some Gulf countries, where, the fact that these were not sports played by the locals caused their demise.

About 2 months ago, Pakistan played a 20 20 game against Uganda. I was surprised to see a few people asking about the Uganda team, because they probably read the scorecard and were interested to know about how and why the game was played over there, and what level. I never saw anyone looking at a Pakistan-UAE match seriously, not even those in the UAE (except for maybe Athar Laeeq from Pakistan bowling to his brother, Arshad Laeeq in the UAE team!).

If all of this doesnt matter, then why does Ugandan Cricket excite people more than Oman?

Lets say that Oman gets ODI status….. exactly how are they going to make the next step? They have not reached that level because of sound development or anything like that. The only way they will try to step up is to import ‘better’ players from the subcontinent.

About 1 year ago, the captain of the Hong Kong cricket team give someone an interview and he mentioned something on these lines as the ‘strategy’.

This is about as sad as reading a match report once in a Bermuda newspaper titled, “The Arabs did not let the Bermudans settle and skittled them cheaply”.

What Arabs?

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Categories: Cricket Development
  1. farhan
    December 2, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    well i tried a lot to restarian myself from talking about these expat topic but i cant do it.so again giving my views.its great article you have written nasir what i want to say n suggest too. Its shame for cricket that some nations who are trying to get this sport to its route population but not getting reward.Its really shame that uganda did not make through into wcq due to some of thier own management fault and some due to too much superirty of these expats players.
    ICC need to take some exmaples after all we want to get this sport to many nations not so that expats playing for some nations.

  2. December 2, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    I agree on principle with your views. Development must mean homegrown players (not necessarily of indigenous origin mind you). At some stage the ICC needs to start rewarding teams that grow their own talent rather than buying it in. I’m all for teams buying in professionals to improve the levels of their domestic game – it certainly made a big difference to Kenya in the past, but at international level, the team should represent the country and that means the people. Good article.

  3. Bensti
    December 2, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Expats can obviously play a large role in the structuring of cricket in the formative years of a country’s development. I don’t think anybody has a problem with that.
    Unfortunately, during the 11 years I have been following associate level cricket, it has become obvious that some countries and the expats running the game in those countries, have no interest in spreading the game to the wider community.
    In fact, in some cases there seems to be some evidence that expats are actually discouraging the growth of the game from a mainstream ideal.
    Each country has it’s own story, so we shouldn’t generalize. There are some wonderful examples of expats spreading the game to the wider majority. Indonesia, Chile, Japan, Thailand, China, Vanuatu and PNG are a few examples and even in Europe I have been heartened by the recent initiatives set up by Germany and Finland, particularly in the last 12 months.
    However, on the opposite side of the ledger, Canada, USA and some others have simply refused to take the game to the mainstream population. The administrators of one country have made public statements to the effect that they do not need to involve the wider community due to the large number of cricket playing migrants that are already present. Then in the same breath they will bemoan the lack of sponsorship that comes their way from larger mainstream companies.
    Apart from that, it is extremely unfair for some countries, particularly those in Africa and South America for example that do not have the luxury of having large numbers of cricket playing migrants knocking on their door. They have no choice but to start at square one, developing the game from scratch, teaching complete newcomers the finer points of the game and hoping that they in turn will teach others. It is a long, demanding process that requires at least 10 years before significant results can be obtained, yet there are countries that are prepared to take on this enormous task and manage it on the same funding as the nations with no real development initiative.
    At some stage the ICC must somehow reward the countries that are genuinely trying to spread the game to ALL it’s citizens, not just expats or like-minded people with similar cultural backgrounds.

  4. Bensti
    December 2, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    And the there is this in Oman. A breakaway league formed by Omani’s in response to them feeling as though they were not being given a fair deal by the game’s Governing body in that country.

    http://www.omanicricket.com/toabout.html

  5. Rich B
    December 3, 2007 at 11:12 am

    I agree with much of the article, but I the real shame here is not that Oman has done well but that Uganda doesn’t seem to be moving forward.

    For me Uganda is one of three countries (Nepal and Afghanistan being the others) where there has been real mainstream uptake in the game of cricket. All nations need ICC assistance, but I think these countries need to be treated as special cases due to their burgeoning potential, being given extra help in personnel and finance.

    Someone commented that Oman were ‘buying in talent’ as if expats were being bussed in especially for the tournament. Correct me if I’m wrong, but has any player uprooted from Pakistan and lived in Oman for four years just so they could play for the (amateur) national team?

    People are probably right to criticize their lack of development, but Oman’s recent performances surely reflect a high standard of domestic cricket which we should really be applauding, and which has contributed to a higher standard of play during WCL Div 2 than many of us were expecting (how many people expected Namibia to win the title at a canter?)

  6. December 5, 2007 at 2:55 am

    Everyone requested to reply….Andrew Must…

    I am Fan of Cricket. I want to see the all the country playing this wonderful game and supporting millions of people supporting and cheering for their team. ……How this will be possible????

    I have a friend from India. He was cheering for England, I socked and asked why you are cheering for England….You are Indian and cheer for Inida…India is not in this game. But our Indian paji..monti is in England Team so, I am cheering for Monti not for England. I asked him, whom you support India or England, if they will play against each other? He replied..Obliviously India…What is the meaning of this????

  7. Nathan Webb
    December 5, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Relax, nikesh, you’re over-reacting and reading too much into it. It’s human nature to want to choose a team to support in any contest. If Australia isn’t playing a match, then I will naturally go for one team more than the other, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not a true-blue aussie. Most of the people on these forums seem to go for Uganda, Afghanistan or Nepal, but there aren’t that many of us actually from those countries! It’s far better if people enjoy the cricket irrespective of who plays, rather than cheer for their team only.

  8. Efaz
    December 5, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    I stopped posting on Nixon’s blog because of his distasteful way of making personal attack on posters who has a different perspective on the expat issue. I am stunned to see he is making attack on other blogs too (one that support associate cricket!).

  9. December 6, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Efaz – If you feel I have personally offended you at my blog, I apologise and would welcome you back with open arms. I’d be interested to know what personal attacks I have made here, I was under the impression that I was attacking people’s views.

  10. Efaz
    December 7, 2007 at 6:51 am

    Nixon, if calling people moron and racist is not a personal attack, I don’t know what’s the definition of a personal attack.

  11. December 7, 2007 at 8:02 am

    As I’ve said, I apologise. If you wish to come back then fair enough. But if people do say that citizens of a country should be denied equal rights to represent that country based solely on where they were born or brought up, I think I have a right to suspect them of being a little bit xenophobic. I have only directly accused one person of this, and it certainly wasn’t you, at least not intentionally. Do I think that people who go on about ex-pats are morons? Perhaps that is a little strong, but certain people are quick to use ex-pats as an excuse, and some viewpoints are highly unrealistic in the modern world, and that they try and make a team worse instead of trying to figure out how to make other teams better.

    As I said, feel free to come back to BTB. We do care about associate cricket, which is precisely why we support the hard work ex-pats do to help spread the game.

  12. December 7, 2007 at 8:10 am

    And Efaz, I don’t think I have called anyone racist or a moron at this blog, and I’d like you to point out where I have on this blog so I can apologise.

  13. Nishadh Rego
    December 7, 2007 at 8:38 am

    Let me ask you this simply..Don’t you think that it is a little unfair on teams like Uganda, Nepal, and Afghanistan to have to compete with teams like Canada, and UAE who play people have played all their cricket in the first class scene in Pakistan. Fair enough it is within the rules that these countries are operating, but rules can be questioned. I don’t care if 70% of UAE’s population is made up of expats. The bottom line is that they are not from the UAE, and should not be playing for the UAE. Wouldn’t you agree with me that the rules need to be altered a little? Surely you do see the argument that many people are making regarding this…

  14. December 7, 2007 at 8:46 am

    The rules are clear and fair, and everyone plays by the same rules. No-one is stopping Afghanistan, Nepal or Uganda picking “ex-pats”, so how can it be unfair?

    Canada and the UAE may pick people who have played first-class cricket in Pakistan, but they won’t have played there for at least four years, and as much as seven in most cases, and if it’s less, they’d be citizens of the country anyway!

    Would you say that Akash Gupta shouldn’t be playing for Nepal and that Nandikishore Patel shouldn’t be playing for Uganda because they were born in India?

  15. December 7, 2007 at 8:51 am

    Just in addition, only six non-test teams have had all their players this year born in their country. These are Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and New Caledonia. Are these the six teams you’d like to see in the World Cup? Do you think they’d be a good advertisement for non-test cricket? The first three maybe, but if New Caledonia lose by 500 runs to PNG, how would they do against Australia?

  16. Tom Lewis
    December 7, 2007 at 9:44 am

    I don’t see a problem with a few expats, playing alongside some homegrown players in order to aid development in the country and the performances of the national team, however when Oman stride along have a squad of 15 with one player born in Oman who doesn’t bat or bowl you have to draw the line. Maybe the deemed national rule when two players have to have only lived in the country for two years needs to be re-assessed.

    At least the UAE are starting to introduce some local players into the national side, whereas i have heard of no development plans for Oman cricket at all.

  17. Fumbaloney, Melbourne Australia
    December 7, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Regardless of how many expats a country has, many are actually not expats at all, they are born in that country or went there very young. For instance, in increasing numbers, many players from Canada & UAE are of Pakistani or Indian background but are actually born in the country they represent. Examples for the UAE include Mohammad Tauqir, Naeemuddin Aslam & Abdul Rehman – are these guys not locals from UAE? For Canada Kevin Sandher, Surendra Seeraj, Ashish Patel, Jason Patraj are all Canadian born – does this not make them Canadian? I think it does – in fact I think it would be wrong to suggest otherwise.

  18. December 7, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Tom – Oman had two locally born players in their WCL2 squad. And the deemed national rule is for four years, not two.

  19. December 7, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Andrew, I am getting tired of this tirade, basically you are unwilling to realize that anyone apart from you can also make sense…….

    Despite my saying 50 times about what an expat is, you keep coming back to the same thing and confuse one thing with another……..

    First, there is no talk about citizens vs non citizens. They have a simple 100 day rule. I dont like it from a development perspective, but I agree that there is a socio-political ripple. Italy vs ICC in 2001 is a good case for this.

    Secondly, nobody is saying that a kid who migrated to Oman at the age of 5 from Pakistan should not be allowed to play cricket over there. This is not what is happenning in Oman, or for that matter in the other Gulf countries, or Hong Kong/Singapore. These countries are being represented by first class cricketers, or grade level players from the subcontinent. At least the players that push them up in the WCL are.

    Bringing cricket to the shores of a country is one thing. Getting to represent that country and pushing it higher for world cup qualification is another.

    ICC should just have a simple policy. Citizens can play (100 days residency needed). Non citizens can play after 10 year residency, and that should be a residency for at least 10 months every year in the last 10 years.

    You are right in one thing. “No-one is stopping Afghanistan, Nepal or Uganda picking “ex-pats”. Last year, Nepal, which has a million people interested in playing and watching cricket, was actively searching for Indian cricketers born in Nepal. They were doing this because they realized that they have to compete with other “expat” based teams in the ACC Trophy. They even found 6 cadidates from Indian domestic cricket. But luckily some common sense prevailed and they didnt do any major overhaul.

    Expats can be picked if there are any. Why should ICC “development and expansion” tournaments be based on getting those countries up the ladder that are a choice of migration for subcontinent? First, its not expansion by any strech of the imagination. And secondly, there is no development that is taking place. Finally, it will push other countries to do the same.

    Nepal, Afghanistan and Ugnada will probably try and introduce more and more expats in their teams of the future, if this is the way that keep on getting knocked out of global tournaments ……….

  20. Bensti
    December 7, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    Well I suppose if you put it in simple terms.

    If Pakistan for instance has 20 million cricket fans and players and 2000 of them move to Oman, what is the total number of fans and players in Pakistan and Oman?

    Answer: Still 20 million. Transplanting cricketers from one country to another does not increase the World’s base of players and fans and as such nor is the ICC’s mandate of development achieved.

  21. December 7, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    btw, Pakistan has close to 100 million cricket fans 🙂

  22. December 8, 2007 at 1:55 am

    Nasir – Some people are saying that a player not born in a country should not be able to represent that country. I quote from Nisadh above “The bottom line is that they are not from the UAE, and should not be playing for the UAE”. And commenters over at my blog express similar views.

    And a ten year residency requirement is just ridiculous. Cricket already has stricter residency requirements than any other sport, and you want to make it stricter?

    The main changes that need to made to the eligibility rules are to have a six year residency requirement where a player is only allowed to spend six months total out of the country in that time. This would still be stricter than any other sport, and living and working in a country for six years is more than enough to be part of a country. I’d maybe make the period slightly longer if the person was playing as a professional cricketer.

    A eligibility requirement based on citizenship is flawed, as a significant portion of the ICC membership (more than 10%, including two full members) do not issue their own citizenship. Hence whilst someone who’s parent was born in the Netherlands can become a national team player after 100 days in your system, someone who has a parent born in Guernsey would have to wait ten years in your system. How is that fair?

    I’m posting a new proposal for player eligibility on BTB later today, and would appreciate peoples comments.

  23. December 8, 2007 at 2:19 am

    And a ten year residency requirement is just ridiculous.
    And why is this ridculous? Explain that?

    Cricket already has stricter residency requirements than any other sport, and you want to make it stricter?
    You keep on bringing this comparison with other sports without any thought. Cricket is not football, and it even does not have the kind of playing numbers that baseball has outside of the test teams. Cricket is in a special situation where 8 countries are 100 years ahead of the rest in terms of development. The rules have to be made keeping that in mind, if development is the objective. Rules cannot be made keeping other sports in mind.

    Hence whilst someone who’s parent was born in the Netherlands can become a national team player after 100 days in your system, someone who has a parent born in Guernsey would have to wait ten years in your system. How is that fair?
    ICC has no business passing any political statements. Study Italy vs ICC 2001 first. There are arguments by Italy that cannot be refuted, and cricket eligiablity is totally irrelevant for someone who the country is giving a right to move in and out, vote, and live there indefenitely. Secondly, ICC cannot make stupid rules to incorporate Guernsey, while opening loopholes for others to exploit instead of any local development. If Guernsey wants to improve their standing in cricket, they are better of spreading the game to the kids who are already eligable, rather than looking elsewhere. Thats what “development” is…. the alternative is called “hiring”.

  24. Bensti
    December 8, 2007 at 2:40 am

    I can tell you this much. If I was a budding young Japanese club or university cricketer, I would be thinking to myself, well the governing body has a policy of encouraging Japanese cricketers and giving them a shot at national representation. I could even envisage myself representing my country one day if I work hard enough. This is a sport I would like to continue with!

    On the other hand if I was a young Omani cricketer, I might be wondering if there is any point in pursuing this dream. Maybe I should try another sport!

  25. December 8, 2007 at 2:59 am

    I would just like to point out that I’d have no problem with the ICC giving more development money to countries that are encouraging local talent. I’ve mentioned before that I think the HPP should be based more on factors other than performance on the field.

    But my opinion is that taking part in the World Cup should be solely on performance on the field of play. If a team plays by the rules (which I do think need to be changed, by the way) they should be able to play in the World Cup. The dishing out of ICC development money is a separate issue in many ways.

  26. Chris
    December 8, 2007 at 11:41 am

    I think when Andrew is referring to the 10% of full members who don’t issue their own citizenship he must be referring to England and the West Indies. That is true, but it is not the whole picture.

    Starting with the West Indies, the West Indies is different from England in that it is a conglomeration of a countries as a opposed to a subunit of one and so the “West Indies” actually has multiple citizenships. Each West Indian country’s citizenship is quite valid and is used for eligibility requirements. For Anguilla, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands their citizenship is a bit more complex but equally applicable and valid: they all have British Overseas Territories Citizenship with each territory having its own “Belonger Status” which functions exactly like the citizenship of the independent West Indian countries and is equally valid for qualifying to the WI squad (you can actually have British Overseas Territories Citizenship and not have Belonger Status and vice-versa and in some of them Belonger Status can take between 5 and 7 years to obtain if I remember rightly). The last two places in the West Indies that don’t issue their own citizenship are the US Virgin Islands and St. Maarten, but then none of those places have produced WI players for any format of the game and they probably have some kind of residency requirements in lieu of separate citizenship or belonger status in order for their players to qualify for the WI.

    Now as for England (and I’ve brought this up on BTB about Scotland), the situation is VASTLY different. England, Scotland, Wales (and Northern Ireland, although NI falls under Ireland) don’t have separate citizenship, nor do they have any kind of individual belonger status or even “residential status” like what Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man has. So actually, someone from Guernsey wouldn’t have to wait ten years, since nobody can permanently live on either Guernsey or Jersey without first having residential status. If someone from Hampshire wished to take a ferry or flight over to either of those islands everyday in order to qualify for playing without actually living there, then that person would have to be extremely rich as well as frivolous when it comes to money management. I see that Nasir doesn’t think it prudent to compare cricket to other sports, but as I did over at BTB I think it is good to compare Scotland and England in cricket with their participation in rugby and football. In cricket, the ICC sets general eligibility requirements as does FIFA for football and the IRB and RIFL for Rugby Union and Rugby League. However in football it is up to the Scottish Football Association and the (English) Football Association (and the Welsh and Northern Irish ones) to work out eligibility between themselves because FIFA is not in the business of creating citizenships where none previously existed. As a result the four British football associations came to an independent agreement (that was approved by FIFA) whereby adults who play for one British team are ineligible to play for any other team. In Rugby, a slightly more complex (and troublesome) method relies on ancestry. So if you had parents or grandparents who lived in Scotland you would only be eligible for Scotland. This is remarkably similar in meaning, but far more extreme than the “born and bred” term that Andrew dislikes. It also means that if your parents moved around the UK (as some will invariably do) you could be eligible for more than one of them and would presumably have to pick one.

    As Nasir said, the ICC has no business passing political statements. I don’t agree with a 10 year residency requirement (since it takes less time for permanent residents to become eligible for citizenship in most countries), but I do agree that the ICC should only set out broad requirements based on citizenship (or its equivalent) and residency (which would apply to all places but would be most applicable in places without any separate citizenship or citizenship equivalent – which for the moment mean just Scotland and the legal residents in the UAE). An eligibility policy based on citizenship is not flawed, what is flawed is the attempt by some places to want to have their cake and eat it too – if Scotland wish to play separately, but don’t have any kind of status to separate Scots from Englishmen and don’t attempt to work out anything between CricketScotland and the E(W)CB then they have to accept that there will be difficulties with eligibility and that in lieu of that, other ICC eligibility requirements will have to apply to them. As for the residency requirement, some countries allow permanent residents to become citizens after 3 years, others after 5 years and still others after 7 years. I don’t think very many countries have a longer time frame than 7 years, but some countries don’t even have permanent residency and don’t allow naturalization via permanent residency (e.g. the UAE, where the South Asians there are actually just legal residents and not permanent residents). I would suggest that the ICC either have a 7 year requirement for legal and permanent residents everywhere (wherein the person must be resident for 10 months a year for those 7 years) or that they set the requirements to mirror each country’s own residency requirements for citizenship eligibility (so the requirement is the same as that to obtain citizenship in the country – so with Scotland and England it would be a 5 year requirement for locals and new permanent residents and for Austria it would be 7 years because that is how their nationality laws are structured). The ICC should also then leave it up to CricketScotland and the E(W)CB to work out some kind of permanent eligibility requirements between themselves.

  27. December 9, 2007 at 9:57 am

    I don’t agree with a 10 year residency requirement (since it takes less time for permanent residents to become eligible for citizenship in most countries)

    Then it should not bother anyone, right? Becuase once you become a citizen, you can play anyway.

  28. December 9, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Except that a significant proportion of ICC members either can’t issue their own citizenship, or don’t issue citizenship to anyone that moves there, meaning that any rules based on citizenship are not going to apply equally across the ICC membership.

  29. December 9, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Look….. once again you are promoting the cases where 25 year old first class cricketers come to a country, and qualify to play for that country. Thats the only situation in which such a rule would hurt.

    If a kid migrates to a gulf country at the age of 9 or less, he can get into the national team at or before the age of 19. 10 year residency rule does take care of that situation, even if there is no citizenship.

    The current ICC ruling allows a student from Pakistan, who gets into a Canadian University, to qualify and play for Canada when he graduates after 4 years! After 3 years, they can repeat the same cycle for another 2 players!

  30. December 9, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Nasir, I am not promoting those cases at all. I am simply pointing out the inherent unfairness in eligibility rules based on citizenship.

  31. Tom Mather
    December 9, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    A 10 year residency requirement would mean an increase in 30+ year olds making their debut, which would be even worse. If after graduating a student stays in Canada or whatever country, it won’t be just to play cricket because it wouldn’t make sense financially. and if he’s living there anyway, why shouldn’t he represent them?

    It is still important of course that ICC development money is put to best use in increasing the playing base. But in most countries it’s going to be very difficult because cricket is such a minority or unknown sport.

    After 130 years we still only have 10 countries playing test cricket. That’s very slow progress. For all their faults, Oman are improving the standard of associate/affiliate cricket and if it helps to drag teams like Uganda, Namibia and Denmark up to them then something good will be happening. We need stronger competition.

    Countries with a strong economy will be at an advantage in a volatile labour market, but that’s how things are. Cricket isn’t in such a great position outside the top 10 that it can afford to turn its back on cricketing migrants.

  32. December 9, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Oman is playing in next year’s Asia Cup. These will be offical ODIs vs India, Pak, Sri and Bangladesh. This is because Nepal came in third in ACC Trophy 2004. Hong Kong will be playing Asia Cup 2010, because Afghanistan came in third. There is also a lot of particiaption money that comes in along with the trophy.

    Also, since Oman beat Namibia, and also UAE once, it is not far fetched a theory to say that in the 2009 qualifier, Oman and UAE maybe be 2 of the countries getting ODI status, the HPP money, and world cup particiation.

    I guess if all of this is fine, then we dont have any problem do we?

    Tom…. it will not increase 30+ making their debut. It will force countries to develop their own cricket. Very small number of people migrate to UAE at the age of 18. Mostly do at the age of 25+, when they are looking for a job. Either that or they migrate with their families when they are kids.

  33. December 9, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Cricket isn’t in such a great position outside the top 10 that it can afford to turn its back on cricketing migrants.

    It is. Do you think any migratants in Gulf, US or Canada will stop playing cricket if eligability is made stricter? Or will they not buy the India vs Pakistan package on PPV?

  34. December 9, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Oman is playing in next year’s Asia Cup.

    Despite recent reports stating that Oman are playing in the next Asia Cup, the ACC still list Hong Kong as taking part.

    Also, since Oman beat Namibia, and also UAE once, it is not far fetched a theory to say that in the 2009 qualifier, Oman and UAE maybe be 2 of the countries getting ODI status, the HPP money, and world cup particiation.

    I guess if all of this is fine, then we dont have any problem do we?

    Of course there is no problem there. If Oman and the UAE finish in the top six of the World Cup Qualifier, then they deserve all that, as they will have shown themselves to be amongst the best six teams. ODI status, the HPP money (most of it) and World Cup participation can only be given on performance criteria. Other development money can be given on other criteria.

  35. C.A.Hewer
    December 11, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Amazing thread. I change my mind in regards to which of you I agree with every two or three posts. Thank you gentleman for a very engaging and informative discussion.

    I just wanted to say that I live in Japan and my son was born here. Even if he some day reaches the (not unachievable) standard required to play for Japan, he will not. I would discourage it and I don’t think he’d want it. He’s Canadian – simple as that.

    Looking at a player’s country of birth doesn’t always paint the picture and it goes both ways. John Davison was born in Canada and is about as Canadian as Ricky Ponting; Henry Osinde was born in Uganda but he has played a lot more cricket in Canada than his country of birth. Some might, but I don’t think very many expats see the backwaters as some kind of side entry to international cricket. It’d cost a lot of money and be a big waste of time.

    If the expats live there long enough and they’re good enough, then good luck to them. I think it’s important that if the ‘expat’ nations do well and benefit from programs like the HPP, then there has to be some focus on youth and grassroots development. Meantime, the Multan Second XI er…Oman will provide some good practice for the likes of Nepal and Afghanistan as they rise up through the WCL.

  36. C.A.Hewer
    December 11, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    One thing I forgot. Norway got a pasting further up this thread but the cricket set up there is more than just a bunch of embassy staff going for a hit on the weekend. They have an extensive youth program and lot of fundraising is going on. Some of the players have lived there for twenty years or more and have played all their cricket in Norway. I was speaking to a guy earlier this year who plays in a league in Oslo and he said that if the whole team is together, they only speak Norwegian because it’s the only common language. Of course language doesn’t make a nationality but it’s still interesting to hear.

  37. December 11, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Lets make 2 sets of teams. Canada, Oman, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Norway in one set. Afghanistan, Nepal, Uganda, Tanzania in the other.

    There is no question that the term “expansion” cannot be used for the first set. It can only be used for the second.

    Now on the term “development”. Do we believe, that HPP money, ODI status, World Cup participation, publicity from winning/ participating in WCL etc has the same effect on both the sets?

    And people also have to ask a simple question. If we should be blind to the expat issue, then lets look at UAE, which has 50% south asians and 50% arabs. Look at football, a game played by the indegenous 50%, and look at cricket, a game played by 50% south asians. Football clubs in UAE can get 20K people to come and support them in domestic games. UAE cricket team cannot get 200 people to come and support them in international games.

    On the other hand, Nepal can get 20K people to come and support the U19 team for ACC Trophy final!

    If we agree that the “real” way forward is to back teams like Nepal, then any system, or eligiability criteria, or tournament format, that pushes such teams down needs to be reevualted, or at least, if nothing else, one can think about it rather than than saying that everything is perfectly fine.

  38. December 11, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    btw….. in 1999-2000, ICC took such a decision in giving Bangladesh Test Status instead of a higher standard team in Kenya. Now Kenya didnt even have the expat issue, but the ICC used common sense in choosing between the 2. They have received a lot of flak for that as well. We just would like the same common sense shown in other cases as well.

  39. December 11, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    I don’t see how the Bangladesh Test status issue is relevant. They got Test status over Kenya due to their domestic structure – it had nothing to do with player eligibility.

    One point I think a lot of people are missing is the fact that money dished out to Associates by the ICC is money to be used for development. This should mean that irrespective of the make up of the national team, cricket development in that country is being funded and whoever the kids that benefits from it are, that can only be a good thing.

    One thing I am interested in is why, if countries like Nepal have such a high level of participation, have they not risen up the ranks quicker? Only recently has ICC started funding Associate cricket to any great extent and it should not really be necessary if the public interest is enough to drive a country’s cricket economy anyway. Several other countries made it with much less assistance and if Associates want to make the step up, they must be able to do so as well otherwise it will not be sustainable.

  40. C.A.Hewer
    December 11, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Nepal probably won’t even make it out WCL Div 5. It doesn’t matter if 20,000 or 200,000 turn up to watch them if they can’t do that.

    Let’s all support them and long may they be everybody’s sentimental favourite but why complain about better teams going through at their expense? People shouldn’t begrudge the success of a national team in any sport on the basis of its ethnic make up. That’s a bit scary actually.

    I tell you one thing that might put the poor Omanis off cricket: when they read all over the internet how unhappy cricket fans are when they win.

  41. December 11, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    People shouldn’t begrudge the success of a national team in any sport on the basis of its ethnic make up

    Nobody is talking about ethnic makeup. The Namibian team, even their U19s, are all white, in country which is 90% black. We have discussed this before that “born and bred” players, whatever the ethnic makeup, is not perfect, but still good, and a move in the positive direction. This is getting repretitive again and again because people simply choose not to understand the difference between ethnic make up of teams vs what we term as “expat issue”.

    Nepal probably won’t even make it out WCL Div 5. It doesn’t matter if 20,000 or 200,000 turn up to watch them if they can’t do that.

    For development, it does. And what also matters more than their current world standing is that their U19 team is better than some test teams.

    I don’t see how the Bangladesh Test status issue is relevant. They got Test status over Kenya due to their domestic structure – it had nothing to do with player eligibility.

    Nick, it had nothing to do with eligibility; this was an example I was giving for the case where ICC did not give “all or nothing” priority to senior team standards. It had to do with playing numbers, standard of U19 teams, and generally a much higher following for cricket. It also had little to do with domestic structure. Kenya’s domestic structure probably was as good or as bad as theirs.

  42. C.A.Hewer
    December 11, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    “Nobody is talking about ethnic makeup.”

    Nonsense. This is a recurring preoccupation in these discussions. How many references can we find lamenting the ‘lack of Arabs’ playing in the Middle-Eastern teams?

    Conclusion:

    Second generation Indian playing for Norway = bad
    Player with a Norwegian- sounding name = good

    Long term resident = bad (Gary Savage, Jeremy Bray etc)
    Locally born player who has lived in the country far less than the expat = good (Jamie Brazier, Ian Billcliff etc)

  43. December 11, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    As I said

    “born and bred” players, whatever the ethnic makeup, is not perfect, but still good, and a move in the positive direction

    Lack of Arabs is an issue. If indegenous population not participating were not an issue, then South Africa could have stuck with its white cricketers, saying that after all, they are south africans, and have been living there for 4 generations.

    I mentioned sometime back that citizens should be allowed to play, and 10 year residents should be allowed to play. Didnt mention ethnicity anywhere in these rules.

    Lets not confuse a purely development issue, with one of racism.

  44. December 11, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Second generation Indian playing for Norway = bad
    Player with a Norwegian- sounding name = good

    This is something I’ve noticed in these discussions too. In the 2006 European Division Two Championship, people were congratulating Greece for picking all “indigenous” players. What do you know, they were picking people born in other countries who had Greek sounding names.

  45. December 11, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    No, there were only 2 such players. The rest were from Greece.
    And their age development teams all were Greeks as well.

    btw…. its one thing to have 4 players from elsewhere, its another thing to have the entire team from elsewhere. And its a completely different thing to have their entire cricketing fraternity from elsewhere.

  46. Bensti
    December 11, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    Well, the bottom line is if Omani cricketers feel the need to form their own breakaway league because they are unhappy with how they are being treated by the expat cricket community, then it is clear that something is very wrong.
    What more evidence do you need?

    As for Norway’s development program! Unless they are handing in incorrect participation figures to the ICC, then I can’t see how 0 junior players and 50 junior involvement players is an extensive program. Perhaps the 2007 figures which will be released shortly will reveal an upturn in numbers.

    I would like to see a system put in place where countries participating in the World Cricket League are financially rewarded for the number of players in their squads that genuinely came through their development system. For instance at $5000 per player Argentina would receive $65000 for their squad at WCL Div 2, Whereas Oman would receive $15000. This would still allow countries to take the expat route if they want instant success on the field but hopefully it would persuade them to take the development path for financial reward. It would be up to each country which path they choose.

    Everybody has their own views but I enjoy watching countries start from scratch and build their player base through good coaching, hard work, innovative ideas and sound administration. I admire the hard working volunteers that visit schools and teach the game to students that haven’t had the benefit of watching cricket on television. Sure, its a long road and it would be easier to find 11 ready made Australians or Pakistani’s instead but this is surely not the spirit of development.

    I am super impressed with the work that is going on in Africa. Virtually every country has a sizeable development program in place now that involves a cross section of the community including large numbers of indigenous players. The junior number are also looking very good in Cuba, Chile, Thailand, Indonesia, Vanuatu, PNG, Afghanistan, China, Maldives, Malaysia and Nepal. A special mention also for Germany and Finland who have both taken decisive steps to rapidly increase their junior numbers over the last 12 to 24 months. Fantastic!

  47. December 12, 2007 at 12:07 am

    Well, the bottom line is if Omani cricketers feel the need to form their own breakaway league because they are unhappy with how they are being treated by the expat cricket community, then it is clear that something is very wrong.
    What more evidence do you need?

    Something that happened more recently than a year ago? The fact of that matter is that the dispute has largely been settled, with rules now requiring all teams in the national league to pick one Omani national or play with ten men. Oman now has more “indigenous” players than any other Middle Eastern country, and still they get denigrated.

  48. December 12, 2007 at 12:17 am

    I give up.
    I do not have the energy any more to discuss this issue further.

    I said a simple thing….. 10 year residency (non citizen), or citizens can play. But others see issues with this because it is apparently great to have players imported. And it is apparently impossible for some countries to think about actually developing the players from those who ARE eligable.

  49. farhan
    December 12, 2007 at 1:42 am

    well its getting hot up, you can have lot of discussion about tis issue without conclusion.
    well i think cricket lover will support the team consisting of indigenious players instead of one packed with imported players.
    Andrew did not you listen the comments of Botham,david loylad and many other reknown commentators about candaian team they were complaining about candian team not consisting of some born n bred players, again was the case for UAE where UAE did not get any support from crowds or cricket commentators due to same reason. on other hand look at BANGALDESH how was they treated by different media and commentators support and they were treated awsomely in thier 1 st world cup experince. i knew criteria should be simple if a player is eligible he need to play for country.but on other end of picture we need to look at development of this sport and that can be brough by taking more of local population into sport.so people should always support one team with more of indegeinous players.i think even I think even ICC really want to see more of teams like uganda,afghinstan.nepal and tanzania to go through instead oman or UAE.
    C.A.Hewer Says
    “I tell you one thing that might put the poor Omanis off cricket: when they read all over the internet how unhappy cricket fans are when they win.”
    well you need to ask them most of them dont take that to thier heart many of those players would love to play for pakistan or india instead represeant oman.i already told some of my friends now playing cricket in KSA and oman. they used to tell me they just play it for fun nothing country sake or pride involve in it.
    To the end i would love to say if u r eligible and good enough to play for a countyr you should be allowed but for the development of this sport i think people need to prefer support of countries who is putting hard to get thier indigenious population involved.

  50. C.A.Hewer
    December 12, 2007 at 5:01 am

    I mentioned sometime back that citizens should be allowed to play, and 10 year residents should be allowed to play. Didnt mention ethnicity anywhere in these rules.

    Lets not confuse a purely development issue, with one of racism.

    Fair enough, I can see your point.

  51. Bensti
    December 12, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    No Andrew, the situation is far from resolved in Oman. In fact, one of the reasons why the breakaway league was formed was because the OCC’s 1 national per team rule was not being met. Sadly, it reached a point where not one national was selected to play club cricket at all. The Omani’s really had no option but to form the breakaway league just so that they could play some cricket.
    The make up of the national team is another sore point for Omani nationals at this stage as well and they are quite hurt that they are being largely ignored when it comes to representing their own country. When they are selected (usually one is for the national side), they often play little part in the game and end up batting at 10 or 11 and not bowling. On other occasions a player has been selected for matches that are “dead rubbers”.
    The Omani’s will now band together and form their own team in the OCC league.
    This unfortunately means that cricket will be divided totally on racial lines in Oman but what choice do the nationals have?

  52. Chris
    December 12, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    It’s rather odd, but I see words like “national” being used with apparent sincerity about the context, even though the context seems contrary to the meaning that is intended. Andrew, when you said that “all teams in the national league (are required) to pick one Omani national or play with ten men.”, what do you mean when you say “Omani national”? The way I read it (from a strict English usage and possible legal perspective) is that it means “a national of Oman” with the term national mean someone with Omani citizenship (since Omani citizenship and nationality are the same unlike in the US where you can be an American national but not an American citizen). If this is what you mean (“Omani citizen” that is), then it is very sad that all teams in the national league are only required to pick one Omani citizen or play with ten men. I will defend the number of non-UAE nationals in the UAE team, simply because UAE nationals don’t comprise anything more than 11-20% of the total UAE population anyway (even if it is 50% arab as I think Nasir, said, not all of those arabs are actually Emiratis…some are arabs from neighbouring countries). If football is very popular among Emiratis but not South Asian legal residents (they aren’t really permanent residents since that status doesn’t exist unless granted by the monarch) then it is an indictment against UAE football that only 11-20% of the population actually supports it. What should happen in a fair and just world is that both UAE football and cricket actually represent the population of the country (11-20% Emirati, 50% South Asian and the remainder are other expatriate legal residents). I think, but I’m not 100% sure on this, but I think with football, eligibility to the national team is based on citizenship only instead of residency which could well be a reason why few, if any, South Asians participate. With all that being said, however it is almost shameful that 7 years after becoming an ICC affiliate and who knows how many years after cricket was introduced into Oman that national league teams are required to field only 1 citizen or play with 10 men, if that indeed is the case. Had that been the UAE, it would seem right since 2 Emiratis per team would actually reflect the number of citizens in the country, but Oman is different. In Oman there are only 600,000 expatriates out of the total population of 3 million (so non-citizen expatriates, who come from Pakistan, India, Egypt, Jordan and the Philippines account for 20% of the population at most). This is the inverse of the UAE, where non-citizen expatriates account for 80% or more of the 4.3 million people (with South Asians accounting for 50% of the total population), leaving Emirati citizens to account for 20% or less. If the majority of South Asians playing in Oman are actually Omani citizens (I don’t know enough yet about obtaining Omani citizenship and Oman’s residency laws), then any breakaway Omani Arab league might well reflect race issues as opposed to citizenship issues, but if most South Asians playing in Oman aren’t citizens or even permanent residents (and end up being legal residents and have almost no chance of becoming citizens like in the UAE) then there is something wrong.

    Perhaps more research needs to be undertaken into Oman’s population, citizenship and residency laws for everyone here to have a proper discussion (one with hard facts as opposed to suppositions), but what is also needed is some standardized terminology since people seem to have different meanings for “expats” and “born and bred”. I would like to propose the following:

    1. “Non-citizen Expatriate” or “Non-citizen expat” or “NC expat” – any person who resides in a country either permanently (permanent resident) or just legally (legal resident as in the UAE) but is not a citizen and may (permanent residents) or may not (legal residents) be able to gain citizenship. I also propose that people stop using the term “expat” or “expatriate” by itself, since that term can refer to non-citizen expats as well as naturalized citizens originally from another country (what I would refer to as “naturalized expats” or “citizen expats” – not to be confused with “expat citizens” which would mean citizens of one country residing in another).

    2. “Citizen” with “Status Residents” (as opposed to just “residents”) and “Belongers” being analogous terms for Crown Dependency residents in Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey (who have a special “residential status”) and for British Overseas Territories such as Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Cayman Islands and so on (who have a special “belonger status”). These terms would apply to both natural-born citizens (as it is termed in the US constitution), status residents and belongers and naturalized citizens, status residents and belongers. It would also include Hong Kong passport holders and Macau passport holders (both Hong Kong and Macau issue separate and valid passports from the People’s Republic of China and have their own residency and naturalization laws). I also propose that the term “born and bred” no longer be used and instead reference only be made to citizens with specifications as to whether they are naturalized citizens or not (although there is little point in doing so since citizens are citizens).

    3. “National”. This term would a synonym for “Citizen”, “status resident” and “belonger” but it would additionally refer to non-citizen US nationals (as in American Samoa) and non-citizen British nationals (technically only one category, i.e. British National (Overseas), but I would extend its meaning all British nationals and citizens without an automatic right of abode in the UK, i.e. British Overseas Citizen, British National (Overseas), British protected persons and British Overseas Territories citizens who have not taken up full British Citizenship). It would also include any person who is a national of a country but not a citizen of the same country other than the US or UK if such a policy is followed in any other country.

    In addition I would propose the term “locally trained” to replace the “bred” aspect of “born and bred” or maybe replace the term “born and bred” entirely, since what everyone agrees on is that countries should be trying to develop young cricketers and if a country develops a 5-year old, whether a citizen or NC expat, then by the time that youngster is 20+ they should be a product of that country’s development programme as opposed to another’s and they would probably be naturalized citizens at that point (unless they live in the UAE in which case they would have been resident for well over 10 years but still be unable to access citizenship – hence they would have fulfilled any residency requirement).

  53. Art
    December 13, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    I am lost here on the Oman story.

    Are Omani’s not able to play cricket in Oman because:

    1. Teams of immigratnts will not allow them to play in their teams?
    2. They are not good enough to play in teams with members that are immigrants?
    3. They are discriminated against in their own country by teams made up of immigrants?

  54. Chris
    December 13, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    I am not sure myself Art, but I’ve been trying to find data on Oman’s general population and its cricket playing population and so far I’ve found that:

    Oman has 3.2 million people including 577,000 non-nationals (or NC expats). I’ve also found that of the total population (presumably including the non-nationals), Omani Arabs account for approximately 48% and South Asians account for roughly 32%. Roughly speaking it seems that the population is as follows:
    Omani Arab 48%
    Omani South Asians 17-18%
    non-national South Asians 14%
    other Omani nationals 16%
    other non-nationals 4%

    However in the various articles I have found with reference to the breakaway league and to Omani nationals it seems as though there are about “110 Omani nationals (most of the Arabs)” at most in a system with 60 teams in eight divisions. Now with 60 teams we are looking at a minimum of 660 players and probably more like 900 players. Since only 110 of these players are nationals and since the term “nationals” denoted both Arab and non-Arab Omanis then it seems safe to assume that Omani nationals are a minority in Oman’s cricket system and account for somewhere around 12-16% of the playing population in Oman. I don’t know if any of your 3 questions have anything to do with the situation, but on a historical note, Oman became an affiliate in 2000 and cricket was apparently organized in the country from around 1979. I will give the benefit of the doubt and just assume that cricket doesn’t seem to be that popular among Omani nationals (either Arab or South Asian) in general and is really popular with Oman’s permanent or legal residents.

  55. December 13, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    1. Teams of immigratnts will not allow them to play in their teams?
    2. They are not good enough to play in teams with members that are immigrants?
    3. They are discriminated against in their own country by teams made up of immigrants?

    What is happenning is (2). What the breakaway league believed was (1) and (3)

  56. Bensti
    December 14, 2007 at 2:28 am

    According to the new ICC Americas newsletter, the funding criteria will be changed in 2009. It doesn’t explain how it will change but it makes it clear that changes will be made. Check it out!

  57. December 14, 2007 at 3:16 am

    We discussed this here I think:
    https://nasirkhan.wordpress.com/2007/08/21/news-an-increase-in-hpp-countries-funding/

    Important piece was the following in the article:

    Scotland could receive up to £1m a year – if the 32 associates vote for the idea of diverting the bulk of available finance to the most ambitious cricketing countries

  58. December 14, 2007 at 3:46 am

    I would like to see a system put in place where countries participating in the World Cricket League are financially rewarded for the number of players in their squads that genuinely came through their development system. For instance at $5000 per player Argentina would receive $65000 for their squad at WCL Div 2, Whereas Oman would receive $15000. This would still allow countries to take the expat route if they want instant success on the field but hopefully it would persuade them to take the development path for financial reward. It would be up to each country which path they choose.

    Bensti. We discussed this idea about 1.5 years back
    https://nasirkhan.wordpress.com/2006/08/29/opinion-icc-should-introduce-a-development-factor-for-associates/

    But its funny how its the same cast of characters talking for and against the issue! From 18 months ago, I would like to change my position on one thing. I dont want to follow the ICC defined criteria of 183 days per year, but would like to see that as 300 days per year.

  59. December 14, 2007 at 4:03 am

    I dont want to follow the ICC defined criteria of 183 days per year, but would like to see that as 300 days per year.

    This is something I actually agree with Nasir on. 183 days equates to six months. Just to illustrate the silliness of it, Sean Ervine is playing domestic cricket in both England and Australia, and could qualify for both by residence!

  60. Art
    December 16, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks for your reply Nasir, I had a suspicion that that was the thinking behind things.

    Heck why form a separate league, do what subcontinent players do in many parts of the world and form a team or teams just with Omanis and play in the open competition just to see how things go.

  1. December 3, 2007 at 6:40 am

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