Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Only 2 Associates For Twenty-20 World Cup '07

The ICC announced yesterday that the World Cricket League, to be held in Nairobi early next year between the top 6 Associates, will also be used as a qualifier for the Twenty-20 World Cup to be held in South Africa. While this will give some added incentive to the Associates, who will be using the event as a warm up before the main World Cup in the West Indies, I also feel it sells the Associates short. Firstly, I think it is the form of cricket in which an Associate is most likely to defeat a Full member, and so the 'World Cup' should feature more than just two non-test nations. Second, and just as important, it makes an ODI event a qualifier for a Twenty-20 event. You have to be kidding me. These are two totally different games, and it would be like basing the ODI table on the best Test performances. Yes, there will be some similarities, but they are different games, and the qualification should reflect this. If the ICC are going to take the Twenty-20 format seriously, which it seems like they are, they should give the Associates a real qualifying event. I would not be surprised if this threw up some surprise results. Just as I think it is a format where an Associate has a greater chance of beating a Full member, I think the same applies to the lower ranked Associates standing a better chance against those ranked above them. It could potentially be a really good tournament, and may even be a catalyst for aiding the spread of cricket in the non-traditional areas. I'm sure any of the top associates would be only too happy to play host.

1 comment:

Ram said...

Nick,

First, please ignore my question on the sponsorship post about your view on the ICC's decision to involve two Associates in the Twenty20 World Championship..I saw this post only after submitting that comment..

Now, coming to this post, though I appreciate all that you say, I feel the ICC is adopting a "let's see how it goes" approach on these Twenty20 World Championships..The following facts seem to bear testimony to my claim:

1. The first event next year is only an invitational event,
2. Opting to review the first two editions in 2007 and 2009 before deciding on its future
3.Awarding the first two events to Test nations

I don't think the ICC is considering the format with as much seriousness as the other two versions because otherwise, as you say, it wouldn't have based qualification on an ODI event..The events as I see them are mainly to exploit their commercial potential, what with the ICC's global TV rights (the most important source of income for their Development program) up for renewal next year.

On the decision to include two Associates in the event, I don't think the ICC would be over disappointed even if they were to get thrashed around in these gimmicks..I think the ICC feels that their participation has more to do with giving better visibility to the game in those 2 countries, not to mention the financial windfall the 2 Associate boards would be rewarded with.

On why the tournaments were awarded to Test nations instead of the Associates, as I said it's for commercial reasons..However, it must be noted that if the event does have a future beyond 2009, which is most likely to be the case given its popularity, the future events will be allocated to the leading Associates..In fact, Scotland is supposedly the leading contender for being awarded the rights to host the 2013 edition.