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In defense of the ICC's Associate policy

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Associate_nations_cricket_expansion_ICC_associates[The views expressed in this article do not reflect the views of Holdingwilley]

 

A T20 World Cup is going on. It brings a lot with it. Not just a winner, but also retirements, like Shane Watson and hopefully Shahid Afridi. Add another South African failure.

The latest addition to the list is the Associate nations targeting ICC and Big 3 for the way Associate cricket teams are being ignored and deprived of cricket.

I don’t support the ICC, trust me. From whatever I have read so far, I haven’t seen anyone supporting ICC or the concerned authorities. Here, I am trying to point out another aspect of the story, and the fact that many teams have emerged out of the same system.

 

The ICC has been no different for ages. What is more important for an associate team is to make the opportunities count, and not just blame the ICC for everything. An associate player, after losing a match, blames the ICC for the loss and directs attention to the fact that they haven’t been playing enough cricket. William Porterfield, the Irish captain, after his team’s loss to Oman in the T20 World Cup 2016 qualifiers, did the same in the post-match press conference. Sir, a team with fewer chances and less funding just defeated your team and you are talking about chances.

For the ICC to conduct an official match involving the Associates, it has to undertake a loss, thanks to the support that cricket receives in these countries. Before someone points fingers at the ICC, Bangladesh managed to get their country mates to follow cricket.

Not just that; many of these associate cricketers play part-time. I am not saying it for all of them but then there’s a difference between part timers and professionals. Money has always been a constraint and cricketers are forced to look for options and they are right on their part.

In cricketing countries like India, there are many who opt for cricket as their career and end up ruining their life, and only a handful of them reap the rewards. When you choose cricket as a career, you must be confident enough to face the consequences if you end up falling by the wayside. You lose the right to blame others.

Another problem has been the growth of the game in their respective countries. But blaming the ICC for that won’t help anything. It has to be the players and the Boards, along with leading business men of the country who are responsible. Locals will only support you if you play well.

 


Didn’t you see a troop of Afghani cricket fans landing at Mumbai after their team qualified for the main round of the T20 World Cup? Is it fair for Indian football fans to blame FIFA for not giving them enough chances? I am sure no football fans will say that. Is it the Indians who are to be blamed for the current state of football in the country?

But dating back to the past, we know that when football was spreading to this part of the world, India managed to win the 1983 Cricket World Cup and cricket took over. Yeah, because we won. Unless, a team wins or performs well, the locals won’t show any interest. Forget about the ICC. It all comes down to the locals.

You need to convince the ICC that you are worth an investment. The ICC is not a charity organisation. If the ICC is a venture capitalist, is it right on the part of start-ups to blame it for funding others instead of them? You have to be worth an investment.

All I want to stress is that it’s better to put up a consistent show in the limited chances you get, rather than bragging about the number of chances that you get. Teams like Ireland promised a lot but are now falling. Don’t forget that most of their players feature in County cricket, unlike the lower placed associate sides.

One team which has won hearts with their game is Afghanistan. When was the last time that it’s captain was complaining about the limited chances they get?

If Afghanistan continue to win games, the ICC just can’t ignore them. Bangladesh has also emerged from this system. I agree that there are many faults in the system, but if you are good enough, you will make it to the top level. At the end of the day, it’s your performance that can make others to stand for you.

Had Bangladesh been crying for the lack of opportunities, we would not have seen a nail-biting finish the other day against India, nor them reaching the Asia Cup finals twice.

Before you ask for more opportunities, ask yourself if you made full use of the ones those were available to you.

 


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