Kenya March 6, 2007

Tikolo: 'We need quality opposition to improve'

(Leave your thoughts in the comments below)
46

(Leave your thoughts in the comments below)

Following his side's 21-run defeat to the West Indies yesterday, Steve Tikolo, the Kenya captain, has criticised the lack of exposure and matches Associate cricket is afforded.

"The ICC is looking to spread the game globally," he said, "[but] I don't see how they are going to do it unless they get us involved in cricket activities. To be playing at this level, you have to be playing against these guys regularly. Playing them in World Cup warm-up matches and big tournaments alone is not good enough.

"We need quality opposition to improve and we are not getting that."

Tikolo led Kenya to winning the World Cricket League (WCL) in Nairobi last month, a tournament which pitted the top six Associates against each other. While the standard of cricket was generally good, the overwhelming response from the players was that they can only improve if they play full-member nations more regularly. Nevertheless, and despite the 21-run defeat yesterday, Tikolo was pleased with Kenya's performance.

"It was a fruitful exercise, since the main aim was to try and get some good combinations going in the team, and I think we did this," he said. "Obviously, we have another friendly game on Thursday, and we will try and give the guys who did not have a go a chance then to try and finalise our first 11.

"We bowled well at the start of their innings, but we let them get too many runs in the latter stages. I thought also that we batted well, but lost some batsmen in the middle, otherwise it would have been a different result."

Kenya face the Netherlands in their second warm-up match on Thursday at the Trelawny Stadium in Jamaica.

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ajithlalm on March 11, 2007, 14:57 GMT

    I think Steve Tiklo is right. I think test playing nations should play against the other countries to promote the game. Also, some of the games should be telecasted and shown in television to make the players popular. Sadly, most countries would not play against other countries because the money involved on playing against lesser countries is very less. Matches like Australia versus India etc produce lots and lots of money while match like Australia versus Kenya or India versus Kenya produce very less money. So most countries would like to play against the countries which produce more money than less money. Also, it is hard to find sponsors and television rights for the games with developing nations. Also, some former players are also providing opinions that lesser countries should not be in the World Cup. I think this only reduce the fall of the less nations.

    Football is another game that is played among lots of countries. One of the reason the cricket is not globilized or interested by other nations is that it is played by only 10 test playing countries. Most people loves to watch sports that their countries get involve.

    I think some countries should certainly help to increase the quality of the cricket. For eg. Bermuda and Canada should play in the domestic matches of Westindies and the national team can play one or two matches when they are in the country and other countries tour them. Same way Southafrica can help Kenya and Zimbabwe. Same way England can help Ireland, Scotland, and Netherland.

    Another problem is some players in the test playing nations does not want to play against. I think players would complaint of fatigue, over playing, etc and does not want to play against lesser team should be given rest and other players should be given opportunities(test playing nations)

  • Laksh... on March 7, 2007, 19:25 GMT

    Tikolo & Kenya Rock... They seriously deserve a place in any tournament... ICC should seriously consider these & pls develop the Non test nations with even more commitment... I dont know y Quadrangular series are not being played? Instead of 1 V 1 here after ICC & other boards should encourage Tri/Quadrangular so that more teams can get involved... For example How about this tournament> Bangladesh V Zimbabwe V Kenya V Ireland or Scotland or Netherlands or Canada in Bangladesh? SHould be great, anyone can win it... Or Tri series between Zim V Ban V Kenya in Kenya or Zim??? Tournaments like these will boost the confidence in the smaller teams... If any of U guys reading our posts pls take it seriously... Is Works & Many of us wanna see a lot more teams getting involved in Cricket! Wat ever comments received against the Non Test nations are serious CRAP... No team is gonna be big at once! Even teams like South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Now Bangladesh all of them had worst times in the bigging but now see them... Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Kenya & Netherlands Should be a very big boost for the game of cricket if they settel down & that can be done only by ICC (Now U pay, later they earn)... Wat say Guys????

  • omar on March 7, 2007, 15:53 GMT

    i think kenya is a good team. not a fantastic one but a good team. they are not bad at all considering the game in the 70's and 80's. now the game is a very high standard and if these teams are to improve. i suggest they should play long tours in each country and get experience playing against all the countries "A" teams and then play a 2 matches against a national side. then there game will improve.

    my formula

    long tours where the minnow will play the top clubs in a country, followed by a test series and a one day series against the "a" sides and to round it off they should play one or two games with the test playing nations until there standard and performence increasers.

  • Deepak on March 7, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    well kenya and all the other five top associate countries should participate in the domestic tournaments of the test playing nations..By doing this they generate an experienced and talented player pool ... Also they should have two A tours each year from the top 8 nations in their home nations atleast having 5 odi's and 3 five day matches....This will generate a interest for the game among the local populace and also they will have the experience of playing both at home and overseas... i think all the african associates like kenya,uganda,namibia and even zimbabwe should participate in the south african domestic season...also scotland,netherlands and ireland shold play the english county..canada ,bermuda and usa in the currie cup

  • Ricky on March 7, 2007, 12:12 GMT

    Tikolo words are wisdom. If you don’t play against different teams of different quality how will any side develop them selves? Kenya has been the best of the minor sides for years now. But still the play those sides over and over. How will they climb up the ladder if they don’t play the test nations? I agree to Tikolo and Dravids comments. Like wise Ponting’s comments are rubbish. Cricket will never improve around the world if you have people like Ponting giving there views and been leaders of this great game.

  • Ch. Shahbaz on March 7, 2007, 8:18 GMT

    Hello,

    My suggestion in this regard is that it must be mandatory for every test playing nation to host top 2-3 associated teams once in two years for a couple or 3 ODIs. Steve Tikolo's point is very valid and must be appreciated by the ICC.

    Shahbaz. Islamabad. Pakistan

  • Richard on March 7, 2007, 8:16 GMT

    I agree about playing against stronger teams.

    A possible solution would be to have a promotion and relegation system where the strongest of the lower tear are promoted and the weakest of the top 8 are demoted. Kenya is a good team and deserve the chance . Lets face it they deserve more of a chance than Zimbabwe has been given and they are far more copetitive than Zim.

    I am sure money comes into it though and everyone knows the ICC wants their pound of flesh.

  • Mohsin Malik - San Francisco Bay Area on March 7, 2007, 6:19 GMT

    Ayush and others will change mindset soon:

    Already, there has been enough off simmering. Now, the pot is on the boil. It's for everyone to see.

    It's up to the governing body to ensure that teams that are on the verge of making it into the big league, get some token games against the other test playing nations with some frequency.

    This will help their cause a great deal.

    Now that Bangladesh have added another scalp to their impressive rooster, they may be just about ready to score the first real hit and account for one of the two contenders in their group. Watch out for more upsets!

    The million dollar question, would it be India or Sri Lanka!

    A heart or two may flutter or even sink here with this thought filtering through millions of cricket crazy fans around the world.

    If Bangladesh is to meet that eventuality now and enter the realms of big time cricket of the super eight, the former would be fancied as the better choice of the two available options. In reality, they would not mind taking the harder of the two routes.

    Behold, don’t take it to heart so early. The same scenario could work up in other groups, too. After all, the predictions are that this is going to be the most open ended competition, yet.

    Cheers!

  • Harry on March 7, 2007, 6:04 GMT

    What about the full member nations 'A' sides playing the associate members regularly?

    That way you get strength vs strength and the teams get to improve their games.

  • Nathan on March 7, 2007, 5:57 GMT

    Kenya in 2004 participated in the West Indies Domestic First Class competition, The Red Stripe Bowl. Unfourtunately that only seemed to be a one off. The Netherlands were for quite a while participating in one of England's Domestic one day Cups, but the ECB chose to end that arrangement recently. Including these sides in the top first class leagues would be one of the better ways to go aswell as the perhaps more feasible A-Team and Academy tours.

    England is not the only one pulling it's weight. Australia could do more, so could New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Africa and others.

    For instance, why not have Kenya in South Africa's domestic first class competition, as in the first or 2nd tier, like they do with Namibia?

    The Western Warriors in Australia's First Class competition could easily make some sort of arrangement with our neighbours across the Indian Ocean in Kenay too. Involving donating equipment, tours and even the odd Kenyan player coming over to Perth to play club cricket and train with the Warriors and the local academy?

    But realistically this all costs money. And as people have suggested, the ICC want return for their investment.

    It's interesting though, Cricket Australia has been heavily involved in helping the development of Cricket in China. That's an investment where big returns are hoped for.

    Kenya did sign a rich television deal with Nimbus recently though. While the market's in places like Kenya aren't as big as some others, there still is quite some potential there, and it may be worth investing more.

    Tikolo should well know from his experience, that it is difficult to say the least to arrange fixtures with the big teams. Some more lateral thinking may be required, but that's not to say one should give up. And one day, soon, the likes of Kenya will be Test Teams anyway.

    As people have mentioned though, Bangadesh is a test team, yet rarely plays a test.

    Perhaps there is some merit in having a second tier in the Test arena? With the likes of Zimbabwe, Kenya, Bangladesh and maybe another team playing each other intensively?

  • ajithlalm on March 11, 2007, 14:57 GMT

    I think Steve Tiklo is right. I think test playing nations should play against the other countries to promote the game. Also, some of the games should be telecasted and shown in television to make the players popular. Sadly, most countries would not play against other countries because the money involved on playing against lesser countries is very less. Matches like Australia versus India etc produce lots and lots of money while match like Australia versus Kenya or India versus Kenya produce very less money. So most countries would like to play against the countries which produce more money than less money. Also, it is hard to find sponsors and television rights for the games with developing nations. Also, some former players are also providing opinions that lesser countries should not be in the World Cup. I think this only reduce the fall of the less nations.

    Football is another game that is played among lots of countries. One of the reason the cricket is not globilized or interested by other nations is that it is played by only 10 test playing countries. Most people loves to watch sports that their countries get involve.

    I think some countries should certainly help to increase the quality of the cricket. For eg. Bermuda and Canada should play in the domestic matches of Westindies and the national team can play one or two matches when they are in the country and other countries tour them. Same way Southafrica can help Kenya and Zimbabwe. Same way England can help Ireland, Scotland, and Netherland.

    Another problem is some players in the test playing nations does not want to play against. I think players would complaint of fatigue, over playing, etc and does not want to play against lesser team should be given rest and other players should be given opportunities(test playing nations)

  • Laksh... on March 7, 2007, 19:25 GMT

    Tikolo & Kenya Rock... They seriously deserve a place in any tournament... ICC should seriously consider these & pls develop the Non test nations with even more commitment... I dont know y Quadrangular series are not being played? Instead of 1 V 1 here after ICC & other boards should encourage Tri/Quadrangular so that more teams can get involved... For example How about this tournament> Bangladesh V Zimbabwe V Kenya V Ireland or Scotland or Netherlands or Canada in Bangladesh? SHould be great, anyone can win it... Or Tri series between Zim V Ban V Kenya in Kenya or Zim??? Tournaments like these will boost the confidence in the smaller teams... If any of U guys reading our posts pls take it seriously... Is Works & Many of us wanna see a lot more teams getting involved in Cricket! Wat ever comments received against the Non Test nations are serious CRAP... No team is gonna be big at once! Even teams like South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Now Bangladesh all of them had worst times in the bigging but now see them... Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Kenya & Netherlands Should be a very big boost for the game of cricket if they settel down & that can be done only by ICC (Now U pay, later they earn)... Wat say Guys????

  • omar on March 7, 2007, 15:53 GMT

    i think kenya is a good team. not a fantastic one but a good team. they are not bad at all considering the game in the 70's and 80's. now the game is a very high standard and if these teams are to improve. i suggest they should play long tours in each country and get experience playing against all the countries "A" teams and then play a 2 matches against a national side. then there game will improve.

    my formula

    long tours where the minnow will play the top clubs in a country, followed by a test series and a one day series against the "a" sides and to round it off they should play one or two games with the test playing nations until there standard and performence increasers.

  • Deepak on March 7, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    well kenya and all the other five top associate countries should participate in the domestic tournaments of the test playing nations..By doing this they generate an experienced and talented player pool ... Also they should have two A tours each year from the top 8 nations in their home nations atleast having 5 odi's and 3 five day matches....This will generate a interest for the game among the local populace and also they will have the experience of playing both at home and overseas... i think all the african associates like kenya,uganda,namibia and even zimbabwe should participate in the south african domestic season...also scotland,netherlands and ireland shold play the english county..canada ,bermuda and usa in the currie cup

  • Ricky on March 7, 2007, 12:12 GMT

    Tikolo words are wisdom. If you don’t play against different teams of different quality how will any side develop them selves? Kenya has been the best of the minor sides for years now. But still the play those sides over and over. How will they climb up the ladder if they don’t play the test nations? I agree to Tikolo and Dravids comments. Like wise Ponting’s comments are rubbish. Cricket will never improve around the world if you have people like Ponting giving there views and been leaders of this great game.

  • Ch. Shahbaz on March 7, 2007, 8:18 GMT

    Hello,

    My suggestion in this regard is that it must be mandatory for every test playing nation to host top 2-3 associated teams once in two years for a couple or 3 ODIs. Steve Tikolo's point is very valid and must be appreciated by the ICC.

    Shahbaz. Islamabad. Pakistan

  • Richard on March 7, 2007, 8:16 GMT

    I agree about playing against stronger teams.

    A possible solution would be to have a promotion and relegation system where the strongest of the lower tear are promoted and the weakest of the top 8 are demoted. Kenya is a good team and deserve the chance . Lets face it they deserve more of a chance than Zimbabwe has been given and they are far more copetitive than Zim.

    I am sure money comes into it though and everyone knows the ICC wants their pound of flesh.

  • Mohsin Malik - San Francisco Bay Area on March 7, 2007, 6:19 GMT

    Ayush and others will change mindset soon:

    Already, there has been enough off simmering. Now, the pot is on the boil. It's for everyone to see.

    It's up to the governing body to ensure that teams that are on the verge of making it into the big league, get some token games against the other test playing nations with some frequency.

    This will help their cause a great deal.

    Now that Bangladesh have added another scalp to their impressive rooster, they may be just about ready to score the first real hit and account for one of the two contenders in their group. Watch out for more upsets!

    The million dollar question, would it be India or Sri Lanka!

    A heart or two may flutter or even sink here with this thought filtering through millions of cricket crazy fans around the world.

    If Bangladesh is to meet that eventuality now and enter the realms of big time cricket of the super eight, the former would be fancied as the better choice of the two available options. In reality, they would not mind taking the harder of the two routes.

    Behold, don’t take it to heart so early. The same scenario could work up in other groups, too. After all, the predictions are that this is going to be the most open ended competition, yet.

    Cheers!

  • Harry on March 7, 2007, 6:04 GMT

    What about the full member nations 'A' sides playing the associate members regularly?

    That way you get strength vs strength and the teams get to improve their games.

  • Nathan on March 7, 2007, 5:57 GMT

    Kenya in 2004 participated in the West Indies Domestic First Class competition, The Red Stripe Bowl. Unfourtunately that only seemed to be a one off. The Netherlands were for quite a while participating in one of England's Domestic one day Cups, but the ECB chose to end that arrangement recently. Including these sides in the top first class leagues would be one of the better ways to go aswell as the perhaps more feasible A-Team and Academy tours.

    England is not the only one pulling it's weight. Australia could do more, so could New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Africa and others.

    For instance, why not have Kenya in South Africa's domestic first class competition, as in the first or 2nd tier, like they do with Namibia?

    The Western Warriors in Australia's First Class competition could easily make some sort of arrangement with our neighbours across the Indian Ocean in Kenay too. Involving donating equipment, tours and even the odd Kenyan player coming over to Perth to play club cricket and train with the Warriors and the local academy?

    But realistically this all costs money. And as people have suggested, the ICC want return for their investment.

    It's interesting though, Cricket Australia has been heavily involved in helping the development of Cricket in China. That's an investment where big returns are hoped for.

    Kenya did sign a rich television deal with Nimbus recently though. While the market's in places like Kenya aren't as big as some others, there still is quite some potential there, and it may be worth investing more.

    Tikolo should well know from his experience, that it is difficult to say the least to arrange fixtures with the big teams. Some more lateral thinking may be required, but that's not to say one should give up. And one day, soon, the likes of Kenya will be Test Teams anyway.

    As people have mentioned though, Bangadesh is a test team, yet rarely plays a test.

    Perhaps there is some merit in having a second tier in the Test arena? With the likes of Zimbabwe, Kenya, Bangladesh and maybe another team playing each other intensively?

  • Zoeb Tayebjee on March 7, 2007, 5:56 GMT

    Kenya seriously need to put the domestic structure into place first. The Local league is of very poor quality. Right now Kenya has 14 or so players out of which 2-3 have good qualities and the rest of good standard for associate level cricket. Kenya's team is also ageing, with no prospect of quality players coming through. From which system then quality players will emerge to counter the Test playing countries? First and foremost Kenya should have a pool of 24 players, and not just 16 as is the case now.

    Zoeb Tayebjee/Nairobi.

  • Mohamed Imthiyaz on March 7, 2007, 5:35 GMT

    It's true that opportunities should be given to such teams to play with test nation countries regularly. Otherwise they cannot improve their level. It's a good example of Bangladesh who beat in form New Zealand yesterday. Such wins will boost the moral of players and ICC has to think all this before planning how to expand the game globally. If the present countries like Kenya are not given chances to perform how this game will expand.

  • johnson on March 7, 2007, 5:24 GMT

    He may be right, but it depends on whether the test playing nations want to play with these countries. There is already some concern over the number of "mickey mouse" matches that are being played at the beginning of the world cup. the test playing nations would rather have a series with another test playing series, than a minnow.

  • farhan on March 7, 2007, 5:23 GMT

    In my views he may be right but i think kenya should play more matches against teams likes of ZIM,BAN so thier they can get required exposure .one possible soultion can be that one associate country can be given test stats for one or two year on that team success in world cricket league so they can play with top nations and icc can look forward thier progress.

  • Aaron on March 7, 2007, 5:06 GMT

    I think Tikolo is right that the minnows need more matches against the top class oppostion, and not just one or two countries but from all the test playing nations. Perhaps a strategy where in a one or 2 year period ever test playing country must play 1 0r 2 odis against each minnow at least....

    That being said though there is always another side to the equation.. the test playing nations (i would say with the exception of Zimbabwe & possibly Bangladesh) gain nothin from playing these countries... apart from the eggg on their faces if the lose to them... Also the scheduling needs to be loked into as well.. some teams sem to be constanly playing ODIs and Test matches, where as others go for months and months not playing one or sometimes both forms of the game... so the ICC needs to seriously look at how they schedule everything.

    But in the end the development of the non test playing countries can only be helped by playing against the big boys.. especially Kenya, Ireland, Scotland but all the others as well.. like it or not the future of cricket will lie with these new countries getting established and making Cricket more of a world wide sport

  • Azad on March 7, 2007, 5:02 GMT

    If Big Guns are afraid of upsetting too many records playing with the associates, then to be on the safe side (if you think records are not to break!) they can play unofficial matches. Though I don't see such reservaton to be true as far as the statistics is concern.

    See Bangladesh and its players. How well they are progressing! Mashrafee is top wicket taker of the last ODI season and Nafees has scored 1000 runs in the same season! If Bangladesh wasn't given the chance to play on the top level, we wouldn't be able to see such performances. And they have just stunned New Zealand, one of the Big Guns, that have clean sweeped one BIG MOUTH few days back.

    Guys, then why not to listen to the minnows? They have some definite reasons to be listened.

  • vikram on March 7, 2007, 4:50 GMT

    i totally agree with tikolo;s comment...icc should really consider this seriously..i personnaly feel that instead of holding odi series between only two countries, they should hold tri-series,for example, instead of having two odi series between india and sri lanka in a span of three months they can include kenya or canada as the third team...icc should really work out a constructive plan for the minnows and should take actions against test playing nations if they dont commit themselves for the betterment of cricket globally.

  • Ian Whitchurch on March 7, 2007, 4:42 GMT

    If you wish to ruin the development of cricket, do what Jeff calls for.

    We can see how well playing crap opposition for years and then fronting a top side is for a country's sporting development - Jeff, tell me how well that worked for Australian soccer ... beat up Fiji, the Solomons and so on, home and away against New Zealand and then wooo-hooo fifth qualifier from South America and *splat*.

    Teams get better playing quality opposition.

    Full stop end of story.

    Now, as there is too much irrelevant, corruption-inducing stupid one-day tournaments, top players are risking burnout.

    So dont play Australia against Kenya, Ireland and Zimbabwe - send Australia A.

    Dont whine to me we cant afford it - look at the Indian pay TV contract.

    Similarly, *every* tour of England by *anyone* should include games against Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands, or not be a recognised tour.

    Sure, people like Jeff will whinge and whine about the odd thrashing - but Ireland just dismissed South Africa for 191, a Bemuda cop with the build of Warwick Armstrong just turned in a world-class 2-35 against England, Kenya lost by 21 runs to the Windies and Bangladesh knocked over New Zealand.

    Pretty good tournament already for the minnows in my book.

    The trick is getting more better tournaments for minnows, it means more coaching support, it means exemptions from overseas players rules for players from non-Test countries ... and it means people accepting they are going to get thumped occasionally.

    After all, when Australia knocked over England, that was the death of English cricket, and it's Ashes were collected for burial.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on March 7, 2007, 4:21 GMT

    I agree totally with Tikolo... It is quite sad that we have only nine or ten nations which are good enough to play Test Cricket.

    I feel Kenya is a side capable of becoming a good team if they get experience against quality oppoisition. They have posted a number of upsets, and have reached the semifinal of the World Cup. They are one nation who deserve to play ODIs as regularly as Test-playing nations do.

    I also feel that although 20-20 promotes a certain level of mediocrity, it is also the only format which can lbe aunched on a global scale, like other sports. It is perhaps the only way in which cricket can feature in the Olympics.

  • Saiful on March 7, 2007, 4:17 GMT

    There should be a system where the non test playing nations get to play the 5th to 9th ranked teams often. This should expose them more to the international scene. Teams like Australia, South Africa, India shouldnt complain then if they are in the top four.

  • Krckt Gik on March 7, 2007, 4:05 GMT

    Tikolo is totally right. The ICC spends lots of money on A team tournaments, thinking that a bunch of deparate cricket oldies and undertalented youngsters from India or Australia are more fun to watch then Bangladesh, Kenya, or Ireland. All these teams have shown that they are capable of playing at a high level, but the ICC's need to see money is getting in the team's way. Perhaps A teams should compete with the national teams of the Associates, so that the teams gain a little experience. But not having them play any meaningful games for months on end is not a good way to globalize. I agree with several other readers that the situation is not very different from Sri Lanka. In 1980 they were total outsiders, but a mere 16 years later, they defeated Australia in a World Cup final to take home the coveted trophy. A mere ten years later, teams like Kenya are being demeaned by players and experts everywhere. Are the Australians afraid of losing this World Cup to an outsider, just like Pakistan or W.I. in past World Cups? Whatever the reason, the ICC should persist in their expansion efforts. A few years down the road, Kenya versus Scotland might be a far more interesting game than Australia versus India, and the ICC might finally fulfill their need to fill their coffers.

    P.S. At least the ICC got it right in including two Associates in the 20/20 championship.

  • Krckt Gik on March 7, 2007, 3:54 GMT

    Tikolo is on the dot with his comments. The ICC spends lots of money on A team tournaments, and other such junk in interest of generating money. They think that a bunch of oldies and undertalented youngsters thrown together on a team are more fun to watch than the national team of teams like Bangladesh, Kenya, or Ireland. All of these teams, like several others, are capable of playing high levels of cricket against some of the big boys, and they still attract fans. But even if a match between Netherlands and Bermuda doesn't attract much attention, if the teams successes come more fastly and are publicized more, there's not reason the ICC shouldn't generate money in the future, as well as a larger global fan base. It will take some time, but the greed and impatience of the ICC should not stop Tikolo, Levercock, ten Doeschete, Bashar, and dozens of other unknown talents and their successors from shining.

  • ramkumar Singapore on March 7, 2007, 3:49 GMT

    Yes, Tikolo is spot on. I will give you one typical example. India have toured Bangladesh twice and slated to go there this May for their 3rd tour, but Bangladesh has never played a test in India. Feel India is the only place Bangladesh has never played a test. It just shows it is purely commercial the reasons are , rather than anything else like the competitive nature , etc. For my money, Bangladesh and Kenya had always been competitive and should be accomodated.

  • John on March 7, 2007, 3:34 GMT

    Tikolo is right, particulalry as for up until very recently Kenya were better than Bangladesh. I would have a 4 year tours program whereby the top 8 play each other home and away (TESTS) to decide a World Champion. Over the same 4 year period teams 9-16 play first-class tours (in a sensible format) with the winner (probably Kenya, Zimbabwe or Bangladesh) being promoted to the Test level in place of whoever came 8th. The strategy would be risky in case an England came 8th but in the long-run I believe the game would flourish. - tours would actually be earned based on results rather than politics - All Test series would be more meaningful - The importance of Test records would be maintained - Teams in the "second division" would still play the big boys in ODI and 20/20

    just my 5 cents worth

  • Jeff on March 7, 2007, 0:41 GMT

    Yep, Kai is on the right track.

    Plus touring some of the major Nations and playing the First-Class teams or A-Teams.

    Work up to it, it wont happen overnight.

  • atiyo on March 7, 2007, 0:35 GMT

    kenya has been contesting the test nations for longer than bangladesh have. they should've been granted test status before them.

    i'm not saying the time is right for either of them, but my feeling is that kenya have (and still do) deserve it more.

  • Musasia on March 7, 2007, 0:32 GMT

    Steve spoke the truth,however it is clear that ICC has no desire to truly expand the game but to maintain the status quo while being seen to advocate for the spread of the game. They fear the small teams humiliating the big teams. Stay tuned for biased commentary when the competitions begin. I wish kenya the best and hope the pull some superb victories to send a strong message to ICC.

  • Ralph on March 6, 2007, 23:22 GMT

    I think the vast improvements that Bangladesh have made over the last 6 years is the strongest endorsement of Tikolo's view.

    Bangladesh have clearly shown that though it may be a long and steep climb, if you play often enough against the best, and have enough enthusiasm for cricket in your country, you will eventually be able to compete on a regular basis.

    What the minnows need is for Bangladesh to do well in this world cup, and to make that last leap into the big time. Once that happens, Tikolo's arguments will be far more difficult for the powers that be to sidestep.

    I am convinced that Bangladesh will make that leap in the next couple of years - I hope it happens in the next few weeks.

    On a different note, I think that Kai's idea in the penultimate sentence of his post is excellent - a simple change to make, but one that would make a big difference.

  • s! on March 6, 2007, 22:29 GMT

    as a kenyan cricket fan, i can tell you what Tikolo is saying is not new, but still as true. Steve has been saying this exact same thing any time Kenya plays anywhere, against anyone. go back to every big tournament, and that is exactly what you will see..

    ICC, sit up and listen, if you really are interested in developing the game..

  • Jeff on March 6, 2007, 22:12 GMT

    I think Tikolo is 50% right. Teams like Kenya do need a higher level of competition, but I would settle first at playing County/Sheffield Shield etc level first. These Nations have a long way to go, and getting beaten all of the time isnt in their favour. Work your way up the ladder, if you are competitive at the County etc level then you move on to the Test playing teams. Being tossed in the deep end doesnt teach you to swim fast, only to survive!

  • kAI rE pORA on March 6, 2007, 22:08 GMT

    Well, Tikolo is right 100%, although a team to compete with the likes of Aus, SA, Ind needs to have some structure and commitment. Kenya as country has lot of political issues, they don't have enough money. They should hold a tri-series against Zim and Bangla and play the other teams like Ireland and Netherlands. They should start their own group and have a point system. If they are the top then they will get to play the recognized team..

  • Andrew Deacon on March 6, 2007, 22:05 GMT

    I support anything that genuinely increases the depth of talent and variety in world cricket - a global game with 8 competitive teams is not the healthiest state of affairs. But with the minnow nations we must be realistic, match scheduling is largely driven by television revenues and with the amount of cricket played between test nations today there is very little demand to see the associates added to those schedules. Let's remember that Sri Lanka's record ODI score against the Netherlands last year barely registered and was not even televised. I think the ICC has done a fair job lately in twisting arms - getting ODIs against associates tacked on to major tours, bringing 16 teams to this World Cup, adding 2 associate places at the 20/20 World Cup and so on. Realistically this is going to be way forward for associates, to maintain and slowly increase their involvement over time. Any A-tours and first-class competition can access can only help as well, plus I think the one thing that can certainly do more is to play each other in tournaments like the recent and competitive World Cricket League as regularly as possible.

  • Kai on March 6, 2007, 21:40 GMT

    Roger that! Tikolo speaks the truth. All what ICC care about is money making schemes that's why they held more matches of big 8 instead of the associates. Even though associates still lack strength and power in cricket, but ICC should provide them regular exposure to tough competition which would only benefit the minnows and the game. The best option according to me is when ever one country goes on a tour to another country, they instead of playing with local clubs, should play ODI and 3-4 day game against a minnow. This is the best way to fit in minnows with biggies, and also held ODI series with one-another.

  • Gregory on March 6, 2007, 20:42 GMT

    He is just in his views about the ICC, other than at least one tri-series consisting of one test side on a yearly basis these sides should be playing at least two five day games per year against test sides and four five day games against each other. Without this these side will take twenty or thirty years to develop as did the side in the early to mid 20th century.

  • uche Ntinu on March 6, 2007, 19:33 GMT

    Well said Steve,especially when coming at the heels of Mike Holdings expressed reservations about letting minows to compete at the world cup level.We all seem to forget so quickly that playing regularly with the big nations helped teams like Zimbabwe and Sri-Lanka get to where they are today in the game,or is the 'Rolce-Royce' scared that one of the minnows could once again embarrass any of the big Nations?

  • Ayush on March 6, 2007, 19:07 GMT

    The people who comment have to look at both sides of the situation. On the one hand, when teams like Kenya, Bangladesh etc get to play enough games, we say that the standard of cricket around the world is going down and the cricket records are getting spoilt because of these countries. Am I the only one who remembers the worldwide calls for stripping the Test status of Bangladesh in 2004? Or the criticisms of the adulteration of ODI cricket by the introduction of teams like Kenya? But to some extent, I do agree with Tikolo, in that after the 2003 World Cup semi-final, Kenya have hardly had any cricket against the good teams. Instead, they have been forced to bully over the other Associate nations. I would here like to suggest a solution akin to the one done to West Indies in the 1930s. Make a team of North Africa, which will help in "the globalization of cricket" as well as provide a larger base to choose players from. It is logistically tough, but it can be done. Remember East Africa from 1975?(Don't go by their results, just take the logistical example) Wotsay people?

  • rohan on March 6, 2007, 18:54 GMT

    i think along with A-match tours,they should incorporate the teams in 3-way or 4-way tournaments,and they should play first class matches against domestic teams

  • Joshua on March 6, 2007, 18:42 GMT

    Tikolo is 100% right. The ICC should encourage more triangular or quadrangular series with 2 non-test playing nations and 2 test nations. This will only make them better and give test sides more practice. Look at Ireland against South Africa on 5 March, a bit of a scare they gave the Proteas. Not only will it improve their skills, confidence and knowledge it will also benefit affiliate teams in the future as they beome more involved in the future (hopefully).

  • sattar on March 6, 2007, 18:39 GMT

    he is absolutely right

  • Donald MacLeod on March 6, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    Tikolo is absolutely right. Some countries make an effort (West Indies for example) but some will not make the commitment. My main complaint is against England; They have 3 Associates who qualified from the ICC trophy in 2005 and how many games have they played? One against Ireland, and that's it. As far as I can tell, they have a commitment to play one game against Scotland in 2008 and that's it until 2009.Yet they still play warm up games for their home ODI series against county sides! There's a complete lack of commitment from the ECB which demonstrates an arrogance which is bad for the game.

    India have a commitment to a game against Scotland this year, the West Indies have commitments to a triseries against Holland and Ireland in 2007 and a triseries against Canada and Bermuda in 2008, South Africa have a commitment to a triseries against Kenya and Scotland in 2008, New Zealand have a commitment to two games against Scotland in 2008 Yet they still play warm up games for their home ODI series against county sides! There's a complete lack of commitment from the ECB which demonstrates an arrogance which is bad for the game.

    Where's the commitment from the rest?

  • Generali on March 6, 2007, 18:01 GMT

    What he says is true but, unfortunately for Kenya, the test nations don't get much out of playing them. The Test nation doesn't improve by playing Kenya and I don't imagine that the ICC is desperate to break the Kenyan TV sporting rights market.

    Perhaps the answer is to try to play A teams. I just don't see the big test sides being interested in trying to fit even more games in.

  • Rana on March 6, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    Think Bangladesh is a quality opposition for Kenya whom they played lot but did not perform well.

  • Asoka on March 6, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    Tikolo is absolutely right. You will notice that the players who whinge about playing these so-called 'minnow' nations are generally from Australia. Were the Aussies complaining when they had to play New Zealand in the 1940s and 50s when the Kiwis were drubbed every game? See what New Zealand does now! Bangladesh, too, has improved by leaps and bounds after entering the big leagues. And look no further than Sri Lanka to see how class opposition can transform a country's abilities. Old Ceylon, rich with talented players, was given the crumbs off the cricketing table until the 1980s by a pompous establishment. Jayasuriya, Muralitharan, Sangakkara --- some of these brilliant and exciting players would not even be playing cricket today had Sri Lanka not been given the chance to join the Big Boys. I think that the ICC should go even further in weaving this second tier into the first.

  • third eye on March 6, 2007, 17:03 GMT

    i agree with tikolo. they should play with test playing nations every year in an odi tournament. as well as the minnows of the test playing nations like bangladesh and zimbabwe should play more with the big guns more frequently. otherwise countries like kenya, canada and the minnows of test playing nations can not improve their present position.

  • Danushka on March 6, 2007, 16:54 GMT

    It's so true. But we cannot have small countries travel to the stronger teams often. but If they can atleast get one match with each top 8 teams. That will be a great for them.

  • sharif on March 6, 2007, 16:47 GMT

    tikolo is absolutely right ... same happens to bangladesh as well ... they played so well against australia in the test series but after that they haven't played a test since a year!! kenya been to semis last world cup 2003 but thay haven't given more chance to improve ... is it because bangladesh, kenya matches don't sell well and ICC doesn't get enough money?? then why had they been taken into this stages?

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  • sharif on March 6, 2007, 16:47 GMT

    tikolo is absolutely right ... same happens to bangladesh as well ... they played so well against australia in the test series but after that they haven't played a test since a year!! kenya been to semis last world cup 2003 but thay haven't given more chance to improve ... is it because bangladesh, kenya matches don't sell well and ICC doesn't get enough money?? then why had they been taken into this stages?

  • Danushka on March 6, 2007, 16:54 GMT

    It's so true. But we cannot have small countries travel to the stronger teams often. but If they can atleast get one match with each top 8 teams. That will be a great for them.

  • third eye on March 6, 2007, 17:03 GMT

    i agree with tikolo. they should play with test playing nations every year in an odi tournament. as well as the minnows of the test playing nations like bangladesh and zimbabwe should play more with the big guns more frequently. otherwise countries like kenya, canada and the minnows of test playing nations can not improve their present position.

  • Asoka on March 6, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    Tikolo is absolutely right. You will notice that the players who whinge about playing these so-called 'minnow' nations are generally from Australia. Were the Aussies complaining when they had to play New Zealand in the 1940s and 50s when the Kiwis were drubbed every game? See what New Zealand does now! Bangladesh, too, has improved by leaps and bounds after entering the big leagues. And look no further than Sri Lanka to see how class opposition can transform a country's abilities. Old Ceylon, rich with talented players, was given the crumbs off the cricketing table until the 1980s by a pompous establishment. Jayasuriya, Muralitharan, Sangakkara --- some of these brilliant and exciting players would not even be playing cricket today had Sri Lanka not been given the chance to join the Big Boys. I think that the ICC should go even further in weaving this second tier into the first.

  • Rana on March 6, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    Think Bangladesh is a quality opposition for Kenya whom they played lot but did not perform well.

  • Generali on March 6, 2007, 18:01 GMT

    What he says is true but, unfortunately for Kenya, the test nations don't get much out of playing them. The Test nation doesn't improve by playing Kenya and I don't imagine that the ICC is desperate to break the Kenyan TV sporting rights market.

    Perhaps the answer is to try to play A teams. I just don't see the big test sides being interested in trying to fit even more games in.

  • Donald MacLeod on March 6, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    Tikolo is absolutely right. Some countries make an effort (West Indies for example) but some will not make the commitment. My main complaint is against England; They have 3 Associates who qualified from the ICC trophy in 2005 and how many games have they played? One against Ireland, and that's it. As far as I can tell, they have a commitment to play one game against Scotland in 2008 and that's it until 2009.Yet they still play warm up games for their home ODI series against county sides! There's a complete lack of commitment from the ECB which demonstrates an arrogance which is bad for the game.

    India have a commitment to a game against Scotland this year, the West Indies have commitments to a triseries against Holland and Ireland in 2007 and a triseries against Canada and Bermuda in 2008, South Africa have a commitment to a triseries against Kenya and Scotland in 2008, New Zealand have a commitment to two games against Scotland in 2008 Yet they still play warm up games for their home ODI series against county sides! There's a complete lack of commitment from the ECB which demonstrates an arrogance which is bad for the game.

    Where's the commitment from the rest?

  • sattar on March 6, 2007, 18:39 GMT

    he is absolutely right

  • Joshua on March 6, 2007, 18:42 GMT

    Tikolo is 100% right. The ICC should encourage more triangular or quadrangular series with 2 non-test playing nations and 2 test nations. This will only make them better and give test sides more practice. Look at Ireland against South Africa on 5 March, a bit of a scare they gave the Proteas. Not only will it improve their skills, confidence and knowledge it will also benefit affiliate teams in the future as they beome more involved in the future (hopefully).

  • rohan on March 6, 2007, 18:54 GMT

    i think along with A-match tours,they should incorporate the teams in 3-way or 4-way tournaments,and they should play first class matches against domestic teams