March 26, 2007

Associates

Associates need more high-profile matches

Martin Williamson

Steve Tikolo, Kenya's captain, has pleaded for more international exposure for his side, as well as the other leading Associates.

Kenya exited the World Cup after losing to England on Saturday, but Tikolo said that unless the major countries agreed to play the Associates, then the standards would never improve.

"You need more high-level games," Tikolo said. "You can't come here without playing at this level consistently. If you look at our calendar now, what we are expecting is a Twenty20 World Cup in September. Between then and now there's nothing for us.

"If you want the Associates to come up, you have to give them more games, it's as simple as that."

Kenya, like the other Associates, have struggled to persuade the major nations to play them. In the last year, Kenya have played 18 ODIs, of which all have been against the Associates or Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Bangladesh, who themselves struggle to get fixtures against major countries, have been co-operative, while Zimbabwe are believed to have come under intense pressure from the ICC to actually take to the field.

Kenyan cricket was boosted by Tikolo's assurance that he was not ready to retire. "I want to play for Kenya for the next few years to see this team develop into a fine unit," he explained.

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Posted by Zoeb on (March 28, 2007, 5:54 GMT)

I take a different view. After 2003 World Cup in which Kenya reached semi final, one needs to analyse the aftermath. Kenya lost to India 'A', Pakistan 'A', Sri Lanka 'A'(0-5 whitewash in Nairobi), Bangladesh (0-7) and Australia Academy (0-3). Kenya received all above hidings on their home pitch, except 0-4 defeat against Bangladesh in Bangladesh. This tells us that we need to play more Cricket with 'A' teams or academy teams of the test playing nations, try and beat them to draw the real attention of the ICC. I do not agree with Steve Tikolo that Kenya has not got exposure. The Intercontinental Cup and the World Cricket League kept Kenya busy. Kenya won the WCL, congratulations. I am not being nasty but the plain fact is, at the moment Kenya does not have the material to face the test playing nations. Five key players - Steve Tikolo, Ravindu Shah, Martin Suji, Kennedy Otieno and Hitesh Modi - are all +35, and I do not see any direct replacements due to a virtual hopeless domestic cricket.

Posted by George on (March 27, 2007, 11:11 GMT)

The ICC have stated that in order for the game to become a truly global sport there is a need for more teams to be in participation. But in order for the quality of the standard of cricket to be at a premium, there needs to be regular competitions and matches involving the leading associate nations. Perhaps the inclusion of the top associate nations in full members domestic competitions or a buddy system paring lower ranked teams with the elite could ultimately raise the standard and make for more evenly matched encounters rather than witnessing some of the slayings we have seen against minnow nations in this World Cup.

Ultimately the ICC must be willing to inject a portion of the massive revenue earned from large scale events such as the World Cup and Champions trophy into the development, infrastructure and facilities that are offered to these nations rather than the associate nations relying on their local government handouts and a school boys lunch money budget.

Posted by George on (March 27, 2007, 11:10 GMT)

The ICC have stated that in order for the game to become a truly global sport there is a need for more teams to be in participation. But in order for the quality of the standard of cricket to be at a premium, there needs to be regular competitions and matches involving the leading associate nations. Perhaps the inclusion of the top associate nations in full members domestic competitions or a buddy system paring lower ranked teams with the elite could ultimately raise the standard and make for more evenly matched encounters rather than witnessing some of the slayings we have seen against minnow nations in this World Cup.

Ultimately the ICC must be willing to inject a portion of the massive revenue earned from large scale events such as the World Cup and Champions trophy into the development, infrastructure and facilities that are offered to these nations rather than the associate nations relying on their local government handouts and a school boys lunch money budget.

Posted by PK on (March 26, 2007, 12:03 GMT)

Absolutely correct. These so called minnows at the moment seem to play the Test countries only in some huge competitions and when they fail in these competitions, then questions of them being there arise. How are these minnows to get experience otherwise, it they are not given games against the Test countries outside such competitions? You want more teams to play cricket but you are not prepared to give them wider exposure. I am sorry but you cannot have it both ways.

Posted by Pete on (March 26, 2007, 11:26 GMT)

Its a shame that the minnow teams don't get much cricket against top level sides. Playing better sides (notwithstanding the odd thrashing) can only improve their skills and abilities, not to mention experience.

How about a competition for the Associates every year, with the prize for the top two or so teams a tournament against one of the top teams in the world? I think another good idea might be four-day match tours against A sides from the various test nations.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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