November 13, 2007

ICC Intercontinental Cup

Cozier slams ICC funding of Associate tournament

Martin Williamson

Tony Cozier, the veteran Caribbean journalist and broadcaster, has launched a scathing attack on the way the ICC funds global cricket outside the Test-playing countries.

Writing in his column which is syndicated throughout the Caribbean, Cozier was angry at the way that established regions, such as West Indies, were not allocated more money instead of so much being spent by the ICC on Associate competitions.

“Certainly there is no ICC venture more illogical or costly than the one dubbed the Inter-Continental Cup,” he wrote. “It is an annual tournament, described by the ICC as its ‘flagship first-class competition’, comprising round-robin, four-day matches between its second tier members, those one below Test status. These are countries where the game has always been based on amateur, weekend, one-day club cricket. They play no four-day domestic matches and almost certainly never will.

“Yet the ICC doles out heaven knows how much cash every year to fly them, and their own entourage of officials, across the world and to house and feed them at venues as scattered as Aberdeen, Dublin, Namibia, Toronto, Sharjah and Windhoek.

“Canada were unable to raise their strongest team for the African tour because many of their best players simply could not get time off from their jobs. The same problem affects others, rendering the tournament even less relevant.”

The ICC maintains that the competition enables players from Associate countries to gain more experience in the longer form of the game.

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Posted by Arjun Chaudhuri on (November 29, 2007, 12:05 GMT)

The ICC Intercontinental Cup is certainly a laudable venture on the part of the ICC, to develop cricket among the better known of the lesser known cricketing nations.

We have seen how miserably teams struggle when they are promoted to the Test status. If the beginning of limited-over international cricket is considered a watershed in the history of cricket, then it is pitiful to note that only three nations have graduated to the Test status in more than three decades. While Zimbabwe’s Test status has been kept on hold, for rather non-ICC reasons though, and Bangladesh still struggling to make a mark in the longest version of the game, only Sri Lanka can consistently really give the older Test teams a run for their money—a trend that is only about a decade old.

The four-day matches of the ICC Intercontinental Cup can certainly go a long way in giving a ‘Test’ flavour to the non-Test playing nations. In fact, carrying the idea of the ICC Intercontinental Cup further, the ICC may well consider making a second tier of Test playing nations, consisting of teams that manage to qualify to an ICC World Cup.

Posted by Ger B on (November 14, 2007, 12:11 GMT)

Why is it that the 'Test' nations have such a downer on the Associates ? The portion of the 'pot' made available to the Associates is tiny compared to the funding available to these 'big boys'. Surely any steps taken to globalise the game of cricket are worthwhile. Tony Cozier quotes the unavailability of some Canadian players from their most recent Inter-Continental cup match due to work commitments as a reason why the Associates SHOULD NOT get additional (or any ?) funding. Surely this argument supports the funding of Associates to that they can centrally contract their best players - even on a part time basis - and alleviate the problems faced by the Canadians. The quibbles of Tony Cozier - and others of his media colleagues - smacks of either jealousy or fear ! Things must indeed be bad in the West Indies cricket camp if they are experiencing such emotions regarding Canada or Ireland or Scotland etc. !

Posted by Rich B on (November 13, 2007, 23:08 GMT)

Agreed - West Indies cricket is in crisis. But what on earth has that got to do with Associate cricket and in particular the Intercontinental Cup?

WI currently get more money than the 94 cricket-playing non-test nations put together, and the last IC Cup cost less than $1M.

Cricket seems to be the only sport in the world where a considerable number of elite players, administrators and commentators are simply not interested in expanding the game beyond its traditional heartlands, and for the life of me I can't understand why.

Posted by Andy on (November 13, 2007, 19:17 GMT)

Despite his claims that the ICC is wasting money that would be 'better spent' on saving West Indian cricket something that Tony Cozier either fails to acknowledge or understand is that even as things stand now the West Indies as a Test nation receives considerably more funding from the ICC than is spent on organising cricket by the ICC outside the Test world and sacrificing this funding to add a few dollars in the pockets of an organisation that won't set its own ship right is not in the best interests of cricket in the West Indies or in the Associate world.

That he even goes as far as to claim that the Intercontinental cup is a waste of money on nations where cricket is played by amateurs and multi-day cricket on a domestic level is never going to take off even as the organisations that fall under his blanket statements such as Cricket Kenya,which has put players on central contracts and is on the cusp of launching multi-day cricket in its domestic calendar, and the Irish Cricket Union which is similarly trying to put its players on its payroll, smacks of rather short sighted attempt to make a scapegoat of a tournament that has little or nothing to do with whatever problems may be affecting West Indian cricket

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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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