Six to Watch: T20I Status – Team Special

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Following my article regarding players in the men’s game to look out for come T20I status being applied to all associate nations, here’s a Six to Watch Team Special…

Argentina

The South American side used to benefit from regular visits from touring MCC sides and therefore played First Class fixtures. They’ve appeared in the ICC Trophy but have slipped off the ICC World Cricket League structure so it’ll be interesting to see what route back to cricket recognition they can take.

Canada

The inaugural Global T20 Canada kicks off this month, complete with the usual T20 franchise brigade, Chris Gayle, Steven Smith and Shahid Afridi included.

https://www.gt20.ca

It’s to be hoped that the competition ignites interest amongst the local community in The Land of Maple Leaf. Canada have had their moments in cricket history, most notably when John Davison smacked a record-breaking century at the 2003 World Cup.

They’ve also had some shockers though, including being dismissed for 36 by Sri Lanka in the same tournament. They were also routed for 45 against England in 1979. Canada will be relying on expats for now but hopefully native Canadians will be inspired to take up the game and break into the national side.

Denmark

Not that long ago Denmark were one of the there or there about nations beyond the Test world. Their place on the cricket scene was somewhat akin to how Netherlands have been in the past couple of decades. Players such as Ole Mortensen and Freddie Klokker appeared on the county circuit with Mortensen averaging just 23.88 with the ball in the First Class game. When Demark defeated Israel by all ten wickets at the 1994 ICC Trophy, Mortensen claimed figures of 7-19! They’ve somewhat fallen away since, though former England Test player Amjad Khan has helped them return to prominence in recent years. Expats are almost vital to developing cricket in the associate nations but it’s great to see some young local talent in the Denmark squad. Danish born Klokker who was on the books of both Warwickshire and Derbyshire tends to don the gloves these days and his county experience complete with First Class hundreds will be vital if the Danes are to be great again!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederik_Klokker

Fiji

In bygone years Fiji benefited from their proximity to Australia. They even toured Oz and hosted New Zealand as well as been regulars in the ICC Trophy. In recent years they’ve been well down the ICC World Cricket League spectrum, falling as low as division seven. Their squad is full of indigenous talent including many players still in their teens.

When Fiji defeated Wellington in a First Class fixture in 1948, it was the man with the longest name (IL Bula) in cricket history who led the way with 88 in Fiji’s second innings to set the Pacific islanders up for a heart-pumping one-wicket win…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/review2012/content/player/24046.html

Rwanda

Rwanda have put a lot of effort into raising the profile of cricket in their country and if for no other reason than their cricket ground is so beautiful then it’s to be hoped that they can join the African forces to be reckoned with.

Captain Eric Dusingizimana famously broke a world record with an epic fifty-one hour net session.

http://www.rcsf.org.uk

South Korea

South Korea have played at the Asian Games but looked like they’d have made a good ODI side ten years ago. Technically correct they’ll need to adapt their skills to T20I cricket. The talent and hunger is there and it’d be great to see a side from the Far East come to the fore in the cricket world. Maybe some of their players can have great Koreas (Careers!)… sorry!

On the subject of Associate Cricket, Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket: A History in One Hundred Scorecards is well, well worth reading. Tim Brooks’ Cricket On the Continent as well as Second XI: Cricket in it’s Outposts by Tim Wigmore and Peter Miller are also essential reads for the Associate fan.

Archer’s Eligibility?

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England were missing an all-rounder during the Ashes, somebody who could have made significant contributions with both bat and ball, somebody who has been playing in that region this winter. No not Ben Stokes, Sussex’s Jofra Archer.

I’ve held off writing an article regarding Archer’s eligibility whilst I tried to research and understand it but I don’t so here we go anyway!

Barbados born Archer’s father is English yet he won’t be eligible to represent England until 2022. Of course Kevin Pietersen’s mother was English and he had to live and work in England in order to qualify to play international cricket for his mother’s country. Football is a different sport but the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Alex Iwobi seem to have been able to switch/choose allegiance on a whim. When Jamaica rocked up at the 1998 World Cup in France with a load of Englishmen, had Robbie Earle and Deon Burton etc had to reside and work in the Caribbean for years before pulling on the Reggae Boyz jersey? Did Danny Higginbotham and the rest have to live in Gibraltar before playing for their national football team? Did they already have Gibraltar passports or walk straight in based on their parents or grandparents? Chris Birchall anybody… there are many examples but football is different and seems to have varying criteria.

It really annoys me that players like Ryan Campbell (Australia/Hong Kong) and Luke Ronchi (Australia/New Zealand) have played international cricket for more than one nation. I thoroughly accept though that the world is constantly evolving and the determination of nationality needs to be more fluid and flexible than may have been the case at previous times in history. I doubt Nat Sciver considers herself Japanese and whilst the West Indies may not like it, why shouldn’t Bajan Archer be able to play for England now?

There’s a whole can of worms to be opened here. Mahela Jayawardene is able to play in England as a non-overseas player because of EU laws and the fact that his wife is Danish! My wife’s French, our daughter has two passports so am I correct in saying that she could play football for France immediately but not cricket… though a call-up for a one-year-old is admittedly unlikely either way!

Archer lives and works in England, he’s got an English parent and seems to be under the impression himself that he has ‘English residency’. He’s not classed an overseas player when he’s turning out for Sussex. So why can’t he play for England immediately???

Why Not Wales?

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Ireland have their own cricket team and so do Scotland, so why are Wales silently tagged on with England?

It’s the England and Wales Cricket Team you know?

ECB stands for England and Wales Cricket Board but surely Welsh cricketers deserve the right to represent their home nation at international level, not just play for their big neighbours.

Should New Zealand’s cricketers have to scrap to get a gig for Australia?

Wales performed well at the 1979 ICC Trophy then between 1993 and 2001 played against Ireland and Scotland in the British Isles Chmpionships. Of course Ireland and Scotland joined the elite (Well almost!) and Wales were left to fend for themselves… so on themselves that they haven’t played competitively since. The Dragons (Maybe they’re called that?) played a few one-day games against England in the early 21st century and courtesy of former England opener Steve James they actually won the first meeting in 2002.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/2062244.stm

A couple of years later they beat Denmark in the C&G Trophy. A quick Google search suggests that the question of an independent Welsh cricket nation is often brought up, particularly at http://www.walesonline.co.uk. Of course the notion opens a can of worms regarding Glamorgan’s existence or at least their place in the English county structure and whether or not domestic cricket in Wales needs ramping up a level. Only recently and with only three teams were Ireland granted First Class status.

Maybe one day we’ll see some Welsh willow wielders wearing the Wales name!

Roy Morgan: Real International Cricket Book Review

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Warning! This article contains spoilers. It’s not so much a book review but a selection of highlights or/and lowlights from Roy Morgan’s exhaustively detailed and passionately presented Real International Cricket. Remember how at school you were told not to use Wikipedia as a source for your homework, well Morgan says ‘Howzat’ to that as he proudly uses Wiki to pool source information for his tables found in the latter pages of this 280-page epic. To be fair, he’s also scoured the archives of the Lagos Daily News, Saint Helena Telegraph and The Philadelphia Inquirer to name just a few!

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Five run outs. Steady on boys, you’ve travelled 345 miles from Toronto to New York for this!

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Poor W.L. Fraser of Scotland. Everybody else made double figures against Ireland but you quacked!

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Two bowlers, five wickets each, both 34 runs. Damn you Bannerman-Hesse for needing that extra delivery!

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Morgan informs us that Danish wicketkeeper Jorgen Holmen popped up once for the national team in 1973. He promptly conceded 13 byes, dropped a catch, made scores of 0 and 0 not out and never played cricket for his country again.

Where are you now Jorgen?

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A good indicator of how cricket has spread around the globe and prospered amongst indigenous or local populations, or not as the case may be, is the French line-up from 1997. Jones, Hewitt and Edwards et al, proper French names!

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6-1 for Maldives’ Neesham Nasir. A bit expensive conceding that run Neesham!

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A 510-run defeat in a 50 over match. New Caledonia’s Boaoutho’s 0-132 from eleven overs was so bad that the umpires even let him bowl an over more than he should have been allowed to!

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The priceless Pritchard Pritchard makes an appearance in 2011 and promptly clobbers 28 not out, including three sixes from just ten deliveries for Samoa.

Another warning! Unless you’re a cricket tragic, this book probably isn’t for you. If however you enjoy reading about obscure corners of the world, sympathising with numerous poor sods that voyaged for weeks to bat at eleven and not bowl or have a good old healthy obsession with the world’s number one bat ‘n’ ball game then this book is well worth a peruse.

Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket scores an undefeated…

83 not out

A Complete Restructure of International Cricket

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Some teams play each other twice, some three, four or even five times. The team with the most points isn’t top of the table and the team at the bottom doesn’t get relegated. Well that makes a lot of sense! I could go on but I’m going to assume that if you’ve come this far and you plan on going any further that you share my opinion and what appears to be the general consensus that international cricket requires a complete overhaul or as the players themselves call it: context. Here are my plans:

International Championship

10 teams

Test, ODI and T20I status

Australia

Bangladesh

England

India

New Zealand

Pakistan

South Africa

Sri Lanka

West Indies

Zimbabwe

 

International Division One

10 teams

First Class, List A and T20 status

Afghanistan

Hong Kong

Ireland

Kenya

Namibia

Nepal

Netherlands

Papua New Guinea

Scotland

United Arab Emirates

 

International Division Two

10 teams

First Class, List A and T20 status

Bermuda

Canada

Denmark

Italy

Jersey

Malaysia

Oman

Singapore

Uganda

Unites States of America

 

Please note that the selected countries are based on various status and rankings not all of which seem in sync thus highlighting the need for such drastic restructure in the global game. Whether or not further divisions would merit First Class, List A or T20 status would require additional research and consideration.

All teams in any one division play each other in either one or two Super Series (explained later) consisting of the following:

Three Tests (The middle one is always a day/night match)

Three ODIs

Three T20Is

All tours are structured in the order listed above.

Points are awarded as follows:

Test match win: 5pts

Test match draw: 2pts

Test match loss: 0pts

Test series win: 10pts (On top of match points)

Test series draw: 5pts (On top of match points)

Test series loss: 0pts (On top of match points)

ODI match win: 3pts

ODI match draw: 1pts

ODI match loss: 0pts

ODI series win: 5pts (On top of match points)

ODI series draw: 2pts (On top of match points)

ODI series loss: 0pts (On top of match points)

T20I match win: 2pts

T20I match draw: 1pts

T20I match loss: 0pts

T20I series win: 3pts (On top of match points)

T20I series draw: 1pts (On top of match points)

T20I series loss: 0pts (On top of match points)

If each team were to play each other home and away they would each be required to play 54 matches in each format meaning a five or six year cycle. At a stretch four years may be achievable but would not help guard against injury and in-turn product quality. Alternatively teams could play five home series and five away series providing a total of 27 matches in each format. This would mean that a three-year cycle is achievable. This shorter cycle would help maintain the interest of players below International Test Championship. Please consider hemispheres when entertaining the idea of teams playing more regularly. I would also like to make clear that I’m completely opposed to the notion of some journalists in world media that have suggested the possibility of teams playing just one match against each other. I think that this is unethical and that international cricket would be a stain (literally!) on the global environment if this were the case. Squad members would also soon lose interest and head for the T20 leagues.

At the end of the cycle the team in tenth place in each division would be relegated and the team in first place of the division below be promoted. Obviously for teams moving between International Championship and International Division One this means the gaining of or losing of Test, ODI and T20I status. To prevent mid to latter cycle stagnation it could be that two teams are promoted / relegated or even that a play-off between teams placed in positions IC9 and IDO2, consisting of one match in each format is put in place.

One Day and T20I World Cups could each be held once every three years. The ten teams (incl. relegated team) in International Championship would automatically qualify. From International Division One the six teams with the most points in the respective format at the end of the cycle would also qualify for the respective tournament. Each tournament would consist of a straightforward four groups of four with each team playing each other once and gaining football style points (as per ODI series points proposal). The top two teams from each group would progress to the quarter-finals and the rest of the tournament would follow a self-explanatory format. The winner would host the following tournament. A measure would need to be put in place for a team winning a major tournament and subsequently finishing in for example eighth place in International Division One at the end of the following cycle. Also if a smaller nation won it may not be practical for them to host a whole, or even part of a tournament.

Long term these changes to world cricket would provide players, support staff, fans and media etc. the opportunity to experience parts of the world and cultures that previously cricket wouldn’t have allowed. It would also be a structure that provides consistency, equilibrium, meritocracy and a necessity for equal importance to be placed on each format of the game. Ultimately it would also make cricket a truly global game complete with the current buzz word… context!

Believe it or not this was supposed to be a trimmed down version of a previous attempt at writing this post. I could go on (No really I could!) and detail who would play who home and away (Odds and evens) in the 27 match cycle etc. etc. but I’ll stop there and will attempt to answer any questions if any uncertainty is identified… or take this post down if someone explains that it just wouldn’t work!

Many, many thanks if you made it this far!