Home > Cricket Development > Why even bother with cricket development?

Why even bother with cricket development?

On all the development blogs, we worry about the “what, how, good and bad” of cricket development. But sometimes, people ask a very basic question: take a step back, and ask exactly what the point is of developing cricket in the associate countries? If they have the culture of cricket, the numbers etc, then they will improve themselves. Why are we proactively worried about it?

From the other side, some baffoons give statements about focussing on only China and US as they have great money potential. As if the game is starving for money right now.

Here is the problem with this thinking. It is not the associates that need cricket. Cricket needs the associates. The game needs something new, all the time, something fresh.

No one denies that one of the best world cup ever to take place was the 1992 one in Australia/NZ. It was for multiple reasons: colored clothing, day night cricket,  great format, great game production, and last but not least, a new team. SA was the one thing that every cricket watcher noticed. Unknown players, good standard, almost a cinderalla team.

The novelty aspect of the game is long gone after the advent of cable. Now, you will never wonder what a player is like that you have heard about so much. You will never wonder if someone is really as fast as they say he is. If he has been playing ODI or Tests against other countries, the chances are that you have seen him, and know the answer to that already.  Its pretty easy to follow global cricket when there are only 8-9 teams playing it. There is no mystery there.

The other novelty aspect, that you get to play different teams, with different strengths and weaknesses, thats not there either. The same teams play each other all the time. England played Australia for 7 ODIs, then were also playing them in the semis of the Champions Trophy. The result was also in line with how things had been in the past. Ind/Nz/Sri played each other in a triseries, and Pak played Srilanka for 5 ODIs right before Champions trophy. Pak and NZ now start an ODI series after their semi. And ofcourse, just 2 months before all that, there was the T20 tournament. Even Pakistan vs India, the most viciously watched game, was becoming somewhat of a passing by event due to the 2006-2008 overdose.

More teams ARE needed, more fresh players are needed. Otherwise the game will get completely pointless. I personally believed that the Champions Trophy should have been only 6 teams. With 8 teams, its just the world cup ! But if there are 20 competitive cricket teams, even at Bangladesh standard, they would create some freshness.

The second reason is from the perspective of association. Why do illetrate people in Pakistan know that there is a country across the world down under where there was a man called Don Bradman? Why would people find interesting that Usain Bolt’s favorite sportman as a child was Waqar Younis? Through the common aspect of the sport, you tend to begin and understand the other culture, methods, people a lot better. Wouldnt the Indians want that Sachin Tendulkar is known well in the 1.3 billion chinese population? Wouldnt the Australians want that Brett Lee is well known in the US. Wouldnt these players want it themselves?

Third reason is a basic one. If its a global sport, then it should not be limited to 1/3 of the worlds population. There should be an attempt to help promote it in the other 2/3.

The 4th reason is talent based. The greatest talents can be anywhere in the world. The one billion population of India did not produce Viv Richards. He was from of Antigua, a country of 60K people across the world. The world of cricket is better off because of Viv Richards. Since talent can be anywhere, you have to make sure you go everywhere to find it.

Money is the 5th reason. It is there, I dont deny it. But its not the main reason. If you make this the main reason and then only go after high GDP/capita countries, its foolish, and you lose out on the other points. Money is important as it creates more of a cricket economy, even for people in cricket playing nations in the developing world.

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Categories: Cricket Development
  1. Art
    November 1, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Cricket development is an interesting thing. Here in Australia is only possible for a person to play Sheffield Shield if he plays in the major competition (capital based) in each state. So if you come from the country you really have no chance to progress unless you move to the capitals in each state. Even then the teams based there are not truly representative of the changing and growing populations in each area leaving major centres without a team.

    If you look at many great Australian cricketers they came from country areas and often small towns. Yes talent comes from strange places and even within countries that are ‘developed’ as such much talent still goes missing.

    As for money well it drives everything from talentless people hoping they have talent to earn some money, to the criticism of umpires with the lastest sledge ‘that just cost me a contract.’

    Perhaps there is a time now for each country in the main mix to ensure they have things correct internally before money is thrown at strange expanionary tales.

  2. Chris
    November 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Nasir,

    I’m seeing news that Cricket Ireland has now applied for full membership.

    I’m fairly certainly it will be rejected since Ireland doesn’t have ANY multi day domestic cricket as far as a I know. I’m starting to suspect that the CI chief (Deutrom) doesn’t really know what he is doing – he only ever complains about “no clear path” to test cricket but the ICC has a 2 page document outlining full member requirements of which having a 3/4 day first-class competition is one of the requirements. As it has been ever since 1947, only full members or the ICC can declare a competition or matches to be first-class, but that shouldn’t stop Ireland from having a 3-day competition first and then asking the ICC to adjudge if their competition is first-class or not. Once the ICC adjudges it as first-class then they would be well on their way.

    I’m sure all that is going to happen how is that the ICC will reject the application and Deutrom will then go on griping about “no clear path” again and how the ICC are unfair. The most shameful bit is that even Argentina has an annual 3-day domestic fixture between North and South but the most promising associate (Ireland) can’t even attempt to plan for 3-day cricket (as Kenya was planning) or even 2-day cricket (as the Dutch have planned). If Argentina, Kenya and the Netherlands all get full membership before Ireland I hope they know to blame themselves. Instead of advancing cricket development we have Deutrom playing politics, or worse playing the fool.

  3. November 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Actually, in my opinion, Ireland do deserve full membership. I dont know if Bangladesh had any first class structure before they were put into a special HPP program by the ICC. And they still havent gotten to any super level after 10 years. 2 of Irish cricketers got into English team, and 4 at least play in counties. Bangladesh didnt have any situation like that. But they did have playing numbers and passion. If thats the criteria, then the ICC should look at Afghanistan and Nepal perhaps Uganda.

    But limiting to 8 teams, thats just a killer. No one is out of the blue going to become a passionate cricket country given the current development policies of ICC.

    • Chris
      November 3, 2009 at 3:47 pm

      But Nasir, Bangladesh had multi-day cricket before full membership. It couldn’t have first-class cricket because after 1947 only full members and the ICC were allowed to adjudge matches first-class (which is why Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe didn’t have first-class domestic setups either).

      I agree that Ireland deserve full membership, but not via short circuit – that road leads to another Bangladesh eventually. Given that Ireland beat Bangladesh once in ODIs and then lost to Bangladesh in a tour there 3-0, I’m a bit afraid that if they get promoted without having structures in place then we will rue the day. Ireland also needs depth which the glut of 40 and 50 over club competitions on the island does not provide. Apart from the 11-15 players on the Irish squad for intercontinental cup match and the smattering of Irish players in English counties very few Irish players have ever experienced multi-day cricket. In fact I think a fair portion of the Irish intercontinental cup squad have had English county experience (which might partially explain why they are better in the tournament than say the Netherlands or UAE where fewer players would have had any first-class experience outside of the intercontinental cup).

      At any rate, it seems that the initial reports were off the mark and that rather than applying for full membership, Ireland’s chief, Deutrom, has written a letter to the ICC stating his board’s intention to apply for full membership and asking some general questions. That’s a good move I think.

      I still think Deutrom has been disingenious by claiming there is no clear path. The path is absolutely clear:

      – cut down on the Irish senior cup (which has 35 teams taking part in a knockout competition from May to September with about 10 playing days)

      – use the free time and funds from the cutting back of the senior cup to establish a 3-day competition between the Irish provinces (either using two teams: Ulster-Connacht and Leinster-Munster or three teams: North, Northwest and Leinster)

      – ask the ICC to adjudge the matches, teams and competitions as first-class

      – ensure all other requirements outlined in their document are more or less fulfilled

      – apply for membership.

      I agree entirely that limiting it to 8 teams will kill cricket. But I don’t see any associate country becoming a test country unless they get serious about multi-day cricket, even if it is just 2-day cricket on weekends to start with.

  4. rego
    November 5, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Wow did anyone just watch the game between India and Australia?

    Tendulkar is an absolute genius..

  5. Art
    November 6, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Absolutely but India did lose. Shane Watson (local lad) is starting to play to his potential.

    Thankfully Tendulkar is only 37 or so. Playing for my state in the national over 60 championships starting in 9 days time, trustfully no one will like my bowling that well.

  6. rego
    November 10, 2009 at 12:53 am

    am currently doing a preview of the upcoming ACC T/20 Tournament in the UAE..should be ready in a few days..once all the squads are named..

  7. Art
  8. Art
    November 19, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Sustained a very strange injury while on tour.It was not when I was playing but I became very ill and was rushed to hospital where I stayed in emergency for 11 hours. The upshot of this is that I have sustained two hernias in the lower abdominal wall, one on each side. I will need surgery and the suggestion is that there will be no more playing for me.

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