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Will Afghanistan and Ireland get enough competitive games?

Giri Subramanian Roar Guru

By Giri Subramanian, Giri Subramanian is a Roar Guru

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    The ICC has announced that Afghanistan and Ireland are now full member nations, which means that they now get Test status.

    It is exciting and wonderful news for the hard working cricketers from both the nations who probably dreamt of this day since they started playing cricket.

    Even though this is a great news, it also brings about the question if these two nations will be able to get enough competitive games.

    The team before these two countries to get Test status was Bangladesh. Bangladesh for a long time struggled to get opportunities to play against the top nations especially away from home.

    Bangladesh in their young 17-year career have played just 47 tests away from home, and the majority of their games have been against Sri Lanka against who they have been able to play regularly over the last 17 years.

    They only played their first test in India just recently after 17 years of being granted the Test status. They have never played Pakistan in UAE and haven’t toured Australia since 2003.

    Out of the 47 Tests 32 have come against four nations which are Sri Lanka, New Zealand, West Indies and Zimbabwe. The rest of the five teams in total have invited Bangladesh only for a grand total of 15 games in 17 years. That does not even equate to even one Test a year.

    This is something which the ICC has to guard against. Bangladesh still does not get enough games against the top 5 nations. They haven’t played a game in England since 2010 and in South Africa since 2008. Those are pretty shocking numbers to be honest. When the world is calling Bangladesh a mediocre team in Tests, the stats above tells us why.

    Even though granting Test status to the two deserving teams is a great initiative, ICC needs to make sure that they don’t suffer the same fate as Bangladesh.

    Both these teams would be incredibly excited at the prospect of competing against the top nations and it would be a disappointment if they have to resort to just playing with each other all the time.

    The individual cricketing boards also have a part to play in this induction. Countries like India, England, Pakistan and Australia need to try and squeeze in series against these two teams regularly, even it is just for a game or two.

    I understand that initially there might be lots of one sided games but they will improve with time and with enough opportunities against top teams.

    The addition of Bangladesh and now Afghanistan and Ireland is wonderful for cricket in general and sends out a great message for other associate nations.

    The rapid strides that Afghanistan has taken will give great confidence to other associate nations to take their cricket seriously.

    This is a great day for cricket but again steps have to be taken that these teams are engaged effectively to keep the interest alive in their respective countries.

    Hopefully the ICC and the rest of the countries realise that and do their part in development of cricket in these two countries.

    Welcome Afghanistan and Ireland, and I hope you have a wonderful time playing Test cricket.

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    The Crowd Says (36)

    • June 23rd 2017 @ 11:20am
      George said | June 23rd 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report

      Well said.

      • Roar Guru

        June 23rd 2017 @ 11:33am
        Giri Subramanian said | June 23rd 2017 @ 11:33am | ! Report

        Thanks. ICC dropped the ball with Bangladesh, hope they don’t with these two new teams.

        • June 23rd 2017 @ 5:25pm
          George said | June 23rd 2017 @ 5:25pm | ! Report

          Yes. They’ve improved in spite of the neglect of some of the established Test boards.

    • June 23rd 2017 @ 12:02pm
      BrainsTrust said | June 23rd 2017 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

      There is no way either should get test status.Their domestic competitions would be too weak they are piggybacking off England and Pakistan. I can see why England wants Ireland it gives them an international opponent they can schedule matches against at their convenience. Pakistan make money in a different way I can see them pushing to get more lowly ranked opponents. Lets just hope Micky Arthur survives his coaching stint.

      • Roar Guru

        June 23rd 2017 @ 12:36pm
        Giri Subramanian said | June 23rd 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        Well when Bangladesh got their test status in 2000, there was lots of noise that Ireland were a more deserving team.

        • June 23rd 2017 @ 3:28pm
          BrainsTrust said | June 23rd 2017 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

          Ireland were not around in 2000 it was Scotland in the world cup.
          Ireland have supplemented with players from Australia ,England,South Africa, and Afghanistan from Pakistan.
          How are their local competitions judged first class then.

          • Roar Guru

            June 23rd 2017 @ 4:35pm
            Giri Subramanian said | June 23rd 2017 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

            Yes you are right that Ireland was not there in 2000. But again when Bangladesh was struggling to cope up with international cricket, there was calls for Ireland getting the test status and stripping Bangladesh off it. Ireland does not have a first class structure to speak of and possibly the grant of test status might help them to develop their infrastructure. Same with Afghanistan. They need money and support to improve their infrastructure and also need interest to be generated within the country. I am sure lot more kids will be willing to take up cricket as a career after this announcement. It is one step at a time. Not all countries can have perfect first class system before getting a full member status. It is a step by step process.

    • Roar Guru

      June 23rd 2017 @ 12:49pm
      The Bush said | June 23rd 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

      There needs to be regular games between top teams and bottom teams or else we risk test statistics and status being seriously degraded. We joke about players inflating their averages against the Windies et al, but it could get ridiculous if Ireland, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the Windies just play each other over and over. You’ll have players potentially averaging 50 at test level who would struggle to average more than 30 odd against the big sides.

      • Roar Guru

        June 23rd 2017 @ 1:45pm
        Giri Subramanian said | June 23rd 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

        Yup that’s exactly what ICC and the individual boards should do. Not just let the bottom 4 teams to keep playing each other.

      • June 23rd 2017 @ 1:52pm
        BurgyGreen said | June 23rd 2017 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

        I definitely agree with you that the top sides need to play the minnows more often for the latter’s development, but I don’t think records are much of an issue. Statisticians already regularly exclude performances against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and rightly so in my opinion.

        At the very least I hope that Afghanistan, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and West Indies will be able to play each other regularly and get a decent amount of cricket under their belts so that they’re not totally crippled by lack of match practice and experience when they come up against the top 5 or 6 sides.

    • Roar Guru

      June 23rd 2017 @ 2:39pm
      Giri Subramanian said | June 23rd 2017 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

      That is right. Also as you said playing West Indies and Bangladesh often will not be such a bad idea for Ireland and Afghanistan. More cricket they can get at this level, the better.

    • June 23rd 2017 @ 2:40pm
      matth said | June 23rd 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

      They won’t get enough games against the Big 4 or 5 or whatever, and we might end up in an unofficial two tier structure, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. With each test taking 5 days plus travel and warm up’s, the more team’s that are included in the rotation the less they will play each other. And why would the Big 3 invite the lower sides for a marquee tour when could lose millions in TV revenue and gate takings? In England and Australia especially where the competition from other sports is severe, even one season under the radar can damage the sport for the future.

      Look at football, a second tier nation like Australia has played the big guys in friendlies (i..e outside the world and confederation cups) only very rarely – Brazil this year for the first time in forever, England was a fair few years ago and is was a long time before that. Germany ever?

      The best they can hope for is to be an ‘on the way’ destination, for example Australia playing a one-off test against Ireland before or after an Ashes visit, Zimbabwe on the way to South Africa, Afghanistan I suppose match with Pakistan or Indian tours.

      • June 23rd 2017 @ 2:46pm
        spruce moose said | June 23rd 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

        it’s comments like that that have left test cricket on the margins anyway.

        Those comments represent the 90% of the ‘bandwagon’ fans who only really care about cricket when it can be referenced back to the Ashes.

      • Roar Guru

        June 23rd 2017 @ 3:22pm
        Giri Subramanian said | June 23rd 2017 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

        I partly agree with you that big team do not invite the lower teams because of TV revenue and other logistics. But again here is where ICC needs to step in. There is no point in granting test status to new teams if you cannot give them a chance to improve. Afghanistan plays their home games in India, so there is a possibility that BCCI might organise a series with them. They might get lucky and actually play a test series in India sooner than the 17 years it took Bangladesh to play one. Ireland possibly can expect a invite from England but again that should not be the end of it. If ICC wants cricket to spread and test cricket to thrive, they need all the test playing nations to be competitive. It will not happen over night, it might take years but every member nation should contribute towards that.

        • June 23rd 2017 @ 4:31pm
          spruce moose said | June 23rd 2017 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

          The ICC are not responsible for forcing the “Ashes! Ashes! Ashes” centric market from turning up to other matches I’m afraid…

        • June 24th 2017 @ 9:20am
          BrainsTrust said | June 24th 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

          The major reason the top nations do not invite the lesser nations more often is because of the mutual obligation involved.
          For every match played in country A by country B, country A is then obliged to play a match in Country B. Ireland and Aghanistan are effectively breaking that cycle, so that means the top nations might play them ahead of other minor nations because it doesn;t have to bother touring them. That is a threat to SOuth Africa,West Indies,New Zealand because they rely on the money from India, England and Australia touring them and are further away from these richer nations. In particular India provides SOuth Africa with 40% of its revenue from a single tour every 4 years.

        • June 24th 2017 @ 10:21am
          Timmuh said | June 24th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          Nations have not given the ICC any power in scheduling. The FTP was always unofficially optional even after it was adopted, it is now officially optional. The smaller nations lose money on Tests,

          • Roar Guru

            June 26th 2017 @ 12:00pm
            Giri Subramanian said | June 26th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

            I understand that but again, the ICC needs to make sure that newly inducted test teams get enough games. What is the point of adding new members when you know they are going to be mediocre for couple of decades due to lack of games? I have also mentioned that the individual boards also have a part to play. It is not all ICC.

    • June 23rd 2017 @ 3:01pm
      Ouch said | June 23rd 2017 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

      This is great. Afghanistan especially have the potential to become a competitive side.

      • Roar Guru

        June 23rd 2017 @ 3:23pm
        Giri Subramanian said | June 23rd 2017 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

        Yup you are right, Afghanistan’s rise has been really quick and inspiring. If they do get enough exposure, they will be really competitive very soon.

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