One can be tempted to wince at the amount, but I think it is a lot of money for U15s, and especially since Cricket is still an amatuer sport over there. If the playing numbers are close to a million, then such sponsorships will come through.
I have seen some comments on a couple of websites recently talking about how Nepal are NOT in the same situation as Bangladesh were in 1997. I agree; Bangladesh had won ICC trophy, were the top associate, they had played ODIs through the Asia Cup, and also had a history of cricket in that country courtesy of being a part of Pakistan till 1971.
Yet, Nepal have something that Bangladesh didnt until 2006; a very strong U19 team quite capable of beating a lot of test countries. Bangladesh may have managed to pull off some upset in the U19 WC but that was AFTER they were given ODI status. And it wasnt till 2006 that their team was actually realistically touted as being one of the forerunners for the WC, 6 years after have test status and related funding.
Nepal have the spark, probably brighter than any other associate in recent history. ACC can probably fund them a little more.
I am jumping the gun, but the 2 semi finals have been decided in the ACC U19. It is Malaysia v Nepal, and Afghanista v UAE. The match ups are courtesy of Afghanistan’s upset victory over Malaysia on the opening day of the tournament.
Now lets say Afghanistan and Nepal make it to the finals, then Malaysia would still get qualification while one of the others would get left behind. While this is unfair, I am still ok with the fact that Malaysia being the hosts of the U19 WC should be featuring their team. What I am not ok with is that the fact that one of Nepal or Afghanistan may be left out, while Bermuda and PNG have made it through to the World Cup. I would think the standard difference is just too much in that case, and there should be a second shot for the losing ACC team by playing Bermuda or PNG.
Additionally, the funny thing is that Scotland will have a go at the qualifying ACC team. Why has that special consideration being made?
Here is a question for some….. why is the Nepal U19 team so much stronger than the UAE U19 team?
For the last 6 years, Nepal has been winning the U19 ACC event, and UAE I think has not even finished runners up once; Malaysia has been taking that spot.
Even if you take only the expats living in UAE, you have close to 2.5 million of them from Cricket playing countries. In Nepal you have maybe 1 million people interested in cricket by a wild guess (dont worry, the guess is from a Nepalese Cricket Writer). The UAE kids have obviously a world class infrastructure and facilities at their disposal, and now youalso have a lot of them being sent to India for courses and stints etc. Neither country has a strong senior team to follow, while both have cricket on tv all the time.
So why is Nepal producing youngsters who are better than SA and NZ, while UAE youngsters cant even qualify for a world cup?
It would be interesting to find out if the associates who are currently struggling in getting the players to convert to professionals, are thinking about the franchise model seriously, and what are the pitfalls of such a system.
SA is currently using a franchise model for the domestic teams, with a sponsor fielding their own team, instead of sponsoring a regional side.
There are at least 4 countries that can make use of such a model at the momment, as their main problem seems to be in the amateur to pro transition for their players….. Scotland, Ireland, Nepal and Uganda……..
In such a system, the sponsors get to name the team, e.g. Pepsi stars etc. Or the team can just carry the sponsor’s name. 4-5 such teams can be made which will at least professionalize a pool of 50-60 top players in the country…….. I am sure that all of these countries can get hold of 1 airline, 1 auto manufacturer, 1 soft drink, and a couple of others to field their teams in this league……….
This model comes in handy when the cricket board is not making money from international commitments, and at the same time, the domestic/ club games are not something that gets patronized by the public. Pakistan has had such a system till the late 90s, where instituitions and banks etc were fielding their teams………………. there are pifalls of this system, in that only the talent from a couple of major centers is unearthed, but it should be a workable model for countries who are in the chicken and egg type situation regarding standard/money……….
There were reports that Malaysia may be trying this model out…… It is strange that Malaysia is looking to have a better infrastructure than a few test countries yet nothing is showing up………… their planned structure consists of club cricket, then the talent from there getting pooled into a state side, then the talent from there getting pooled into a franchise side, then the best 14 getting picked for Malaysia…….. I guess we can take this as an example that infrastructure alone is not the answer…………
btw…… while we are talking about Malaysia……. I could not help but watch the final of the Azlan Shah Hockey 2007 between Australia and Malaysia, with Aus winning 3-1……. Pakistan, India, Korea, Argentina were all in the tournament…….. I remember 17 years ago, sitting and watching what was perhaps the first edition of this tournament…….. Pakistan was unbeatable, and teams like Malaysia could not even stand up to them…….. I guess this is a prime example of how something will eventually come out of exposing your men to the highest standards……….
This is finally, the great news that people were expecting. The new management has shown what can be achieved in the shortest of times in countries which have the playing number, passion, and support for the national team. The sponsors are also big companies, like Surya Nepal and Standard Chartered Bank.
Kudos to the CAN management, and best of luck to Nepal.
Here is the full deal. Asia will have 2 spots, Europe and Americas will have 1 each, while there will probably 2 spots going to a combined Africa/EAP tournament.
I would have thought that ICC would also think about giving Nepal an Automatic spot, perhaps even Ireland. Nepal finished in the top 10 this time, beating a number of test teams. The tournament could easily have been increased to 20 teams without too much expenditure, and without too much of a change to the 4 pool system. We have discussed possibilities for this before on this blog.
The other thing in the newspiece is about Nepal NOT getting the ACC academy, but instead getting $100, 000 for the development of infrastructure of some sort. I think given the close proximity of all these academies, if an ACC Academy has to be made, it would make sense for it to be made in Malaysia, just to get a decent geographical spread around.
Finally, the ACC has come to it’s sense, and it introducing a ranking system for the teams in the region (associates only?). This will help everyone, but I would like to see these rankings updated on their website after any match takes place which affects them. Are these going to be seperate rankings for the age levels and senior teams, or one combined ranking? The combined ranking would be confusing.
Namibia’s recent routing of UAE by an innings and 149 runs, from memory being the most one sided 4 day Intercontinental cup match between 2 teams of consecutive ‘rank’, opens up a number of questions.
For one thing, the UAE team was a full team. All their expats were playing, including Shadeep Silva who I forgot to mention in my previous entry, someone who was ending up with 3-4 wickets in each of the ACC Trophy games. The difference in standard seems to be too much between the top associates and the rest, and UAE would be left asking questions about the value of playing in the ACC Premier league.
UAE is one of the few associate countries that not only boasts test standard facilities, but also has the money to host other associates for tours, irrespective of the stands being empty and the game not having any public interest over there. They should make their own itenerary, not relying on what ICC does for them, and go ahead and schedule tours from Namibia and the HPP countries.
The second thing that I would like to mention is that it looks like Nepal didnt do so badly against Namibia if the UAE crumbled agaisnt them the way they did. Nepal also had the disadvantage of playing IN Namibia. One would need to monitor Namibia’s performance IN UAE to see whether the difference was basically because of conditions. On slow, low, spinning tracks, Shadeep Silva and the likes may be unplayable for Namibian players. I believe that there is a return tour scheduled (or did that get converted into the current UAE tour of Namibia instead). But at least Nepal should be happy that they gave a better account of themselves than UAE are doing at the momment.
Match fitness may be a huge factor. Namibians have been playing in the South African provincial tournament for both the 3 day and the 1 day championships. UAe have also been playing in the ACC Premier league, but I dont think the standards compare well.
ACC would be better advised to stop making UAE play with weaker teams in the region, or at least compliment that with some games from Bangladesh A or Sri Lanka A. UAE has been the strongest team in the region below test level for 10 years now, and it seems that all that is happenning in Asia is that more and more countries are playing the game (not really, but at least technically) while the standard is either stagnant or relatively going down. UAE beat Namibia in the ICC Trophy in 2005, but looks like Namibia have taken the ‘missing Bermuda game’ to heart and are now out to reclaim their spot. Bermuda/ Canada would be hard pressed to retain their ODI status if Namibia keep on improving like this and keep on getting experienced like this.