If you thought that only the 10 test playing nations are capable of being the only nations recognised for playing cricket, think again. The affiliated nations (Ireland, U.A.E, Namibia, etc.) are knocking on I.C.C’s doors for their place in the next World Cup to be held in 2019. The Associate and Affiliate nations made giant strides in the year to show what they are capable of.
The ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in Ireland and Scotland was a big hit with plenty of matches having an exciting finish. Afghanistan capped the year with a memorable series win over Zimbabwe, while the Nepal Under-19 team created history by qualifying for the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh. Ireland Women and Bangladesh Women too booked a berth in the ICC Women’s World T20 to be held in India in March and the teams will have plenty of opportunities to show what they are capable of. As for Zimbabwe, there’s plenty of work needed to overhaul cricket in the country.
The governing council should look in to this matter as the nations are just striving for opportunities. They should be granted more exposure rather than restricting them to qualifiers as the only chance to play in the mainstream tournaments. Afghanistan toured Zimbabwe and won the matches quiet convincingly and then played like a test playing nation in U.A.E to lead the series.
With the suggestions cropping up the 2019 World Cup to a ten team event, it should always be considered that the Associate and Affiliate nations have done really well at the biggest of tournaments and should be provided with equal chances to be advanced to the mainstream.
Even countries where cricket is considered as a following have suffered at the hands of these part time cricket playing nations. Much to remember is the 2015 World Cup India vs Bangladesh match and the much talked about 2011 World Cup England vs Ireland game. Ireland denied England a win, even after scoring a mammoth 338.
I.C.C and national cricket governing councils in the respective countries should take an initiative to organize bilateral or triangular series with the top teams. This will improve the gaming standards of the minnows, ending up to be good for the game. This will end up giving us a calendar year full of exciting matches all around the globe.
However, it has to be agreed that major work has to be done, both on and off the field for this to happen. It will take the skills of the players and the minds of the governing bodies.