Home > Cricket Development > PNG’s Tour to Singapore: I Dig This

PNG’s Tour to Singapore: I Dig This

Papua New Guinea’s contracted cricketers recently made a short stop over in Singapore on their way to the World Cricket League (WCL) Division 2 tournament in Dubai, where they took on the Singaporean National Team (themselves WCL Division 5 contestants) in two fifty over friendlies. For PNG this was a convenient, and cheap way to squeeze in two important practice games against decent opposition on home-turf and for the Lions, it was a chance to brood the new and young, and test out combinations before their next official tournament (likely to be the annual Saudara Cup challenge against Malaysia as they don’t have any ACC commitments in 2011). Add to this the fact that the series received coverage from the Singapore media outfit, Voxsports, and the tour was a win-win-win situation.

Yes, tours like these don’t happen often enough and the reasons for this are obvious. The assumption made by boards is that starved for funding, a short bilateral series which usually does not draw spectators, will not receive major television or radio coverage, and will therefore not generate much money, is not worth the costs! Fair enough. Often, this is a reality, however I argue that given the dire situation facing non-test playing countries in the wake of that announcement the need to make competitions such as these work has never been more important.

Ofcourse, there are more strategic ways of going about it: tap into potential markets, minimize organizational and travel costs, and advertise well!!!

Nepal, and Afghanistan, for example, both have cricket-mad populations (arguably more so than those of their more illustrious neighbors in the subcontinent). Afghanistan have ODI status, and Nepal have a competitive side arguably capable of competing with most Ranji Trophy teams. A Nepal-Afghanistan bilateral series, or a Nepal-Afghanistan-PNG tri series (if PNG were playing another WCL tournament anywhere in Asia) held in Nepal or Afghanistan would be played in front of sell-out crowds, and live TV broadcasts.

What about the world-class cricket facility in Guangzhou, China? Perhaps a Japan-China-Hong Kong tri-series under the auspices of the country’s national sports authorities?

Canada and the United States? Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa U-19s? –

Profitable? If thought out properly and managed strategically, why not? And lets not forget the benefits by proxy – players are exposed to different conditions; more matches and competitive cricket; relationships between associations and boards develop whereby future collaboration is possible; and ICC gets a great big ‘associate’ foot shoved up their ass. Ofcourse, short series like this will never substitute for qualification to a World Cup or Test Status, but they give these mostly amateur players exposure, experience, and something to work towards, as their countries climb their way up the long, and seemingly never ending cricket ladder, dreaming of mixing it with the big boys on the big screen.

Thoughts?

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Categories: Cricket Development
  1. Ram
    April 26, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I think the problem nowadays about why such fixtures hardly go ahead is that higher ranked teams increasingly want to avoid playing lower opponents, unless they see financial windfall in such a move. Now, if Nepal want to host a tri-series involving Afg or higher ranked Associates, then you can be rest assured that each of those cricket boards will be asking Cricket Nepal for an appearance fees, in addition to travel and accommodation expenses, because Nepal is now actually making money from ticket sales and TV/radio rights. The question then arises whether Nepal’s cricket market is big enough, which is why I think there aren’t as many such matches as we would like to see. However, what can and should have been done is Nepal can plead with their test neighbors and ask them to send their A or even B teams much the same way Bangladesh have been doing with India. That way there is no fear of losing and Nepal can actually make some money out of it.

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