February 13, 2008

African countries benefit from Afro-Asia format change

Martin Williamson

The Afro-Asian Cup, the second staging of which took place in Bangalore in June last year, looks likely to undergo a radical overhaul of its format.

The event has raised valuable funds for the African Cricket Association and the Asian Cricket Council, but it has been less than a hit with audiences and has been roundly condemned as an unnecessary burden in an already packed international calendar. The third Afro-Asian Cup was initially scheduled to be held in Kenya in June 2008 but Cricinfo was told several weeks ago it was unlikely to go ahead.

But while there had been speculation the event would be ditched completely, it is now reported that the organisers are to propose a new format which would involve matches being on a country basis rather than continent v continent, as is the case now.

There is already an Asia Cup - the itinerary for the 2008 event in June was revealed earlier this week - and to run alongside that there would be a new Africa Cup. That would be likely to feature South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, as well as other countries such as Namibia and Uganda. The winners from the two continents, and possibly the runners-up as well, would then progress to the finals.

A source close to the event told Cricinfo that the appeal of the revised format was that it would include more countries and appealed far more to local sponsors and broadcasters. What’s more, the emerging African countries have been after more meaningful international cricket, and for them this will be a godsend.

It seems that the choice for the organisers was change or bust. The emergence of the IPL – and to a lesser degree the ICL and Stanford 20/20 – on top of the burgeoning Test and ODI merry-go-round means that the international calendar no longer has time for the Afro-Asia Cup as it was. More regional tournaments with a quick in-and-out best-of-three final anytime during the year seems to appease both organisers and sponsors, and it can be scheduled to fit in one of the increasingly rare gaps in the international schedule.

The proposal is due to be put to the next meeting of the Afro-Asia Cup Council early in March.

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

RSS Feeds: Martin Williamson

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Laksh on (February 14, 2008, 8:39 GMT)

I feel The Idea of Africa Cup is one of the best to happen to cricket, that too at the right time... Teams such as Uganda, Kenya & Namibia can really show their skill & can atleast be promised a tournament every year... I fell Even Euro Cup could be a good idea as there are already England + 3 Teams with odi stutus... Euro cup should be (England, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, Denmark & may be Italy or Norway) Finalist from each tournament to play a global tournament.

Example: From Euro Cup: Ireland & England Vs Africa Cup: South Africa & Zimbabwe Vs Asia Cup: India & Sri Lanka... That should be more competative & should be conducted yearly...

Posted by Chris on (February 14, 2008, 4:57 GMT)

Australia wouldn't have to wince, since they and New Zealand aren't a part of any ICC region. Having the test nations participate in the WCL for development purposes is a good idea though. I think perhaps it might be better to include development teams from the test nations themselves (such as the "A" and "B" teams, U-19 teams or a composite XI like the South African composite XI that played Zimbabwe recently). Then the associates and affiliates would play better quality opposition but won't necessarily be overwhelmed (and the players from the Test nations would get to play more cricket).

For Australia, even if they didn't send Australia A or Australia U-19 or even an Aussie composite XI they could at least send State teams or even State Second XI teams. Even Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory would present some good opposition for PNG and Fiji without having to cause too many grimaces in CricketAustralia.

Posted by poor old bowler on (February 13, 2008, 23:07 GMT)

i think its a great idea.

i think samford 20/20 league has shown the way on cricket development.

i would have the regions split up into different groups,i would the samford 20/20 for the carribean region.south america can have a league.north america can have league with usa cananda and mexico.asia can league with nepal,uae and possibly china.africa can have a league with keyna,namibia and other teams.europe can have scotland ireland netherlands and other teams.and have australia and new zealand vs melanesia(png,fiji,vanuatu and others) and polynesia(cook islands,samoa,tonga and others) or a combined pacific islands team and a seperate team for png.i think combined teams for the pacific islands would be like a second west indies and gather the best players from each island into a stronger team,i dont think australia would play these countries individually.

its good to see good cricket development getting talked and thought about.

Posted by Rich B on (February 13, 2008, 20:56 GMT)

Chris, Tanzania was technically the winner of African Championship Div 2 in 2006. As far as I knew they were going to play a Div 1 with Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Namibia (plus possibly teams from SA & Zim) but it never got off the ground. The Div 2 I meant was this year's African Championship, which I expect will include Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, the winner of Div 3 in April, maybe Tanzania if they haven't been promoted and maybe Nigeria if they haven't been relegated.

For development purposes I'd be in favour of having this tiered league system which includes test nations in all 5 regions. It's effectively already there in Asia (ACC Trophy finalists make the Asia Cup, although it's a pity there's a 2 year time lag in between tournaments). A bi-annual '6 nations' in Europe including England would be good, as would incorporating West Indies into the Americas Championships Div 1. Australia might wince at having to play PNG and Fiji, though!

Posted by Chris on (February 13, 2008, 19:30 GMT)

Rich B, that idea sound good for an Africa Cup, but which Div 2 winner are you talking about? the World Cricket League Div 2 winner (if from Africa) or the African Div 2 winner? And wouldn't the winner of the African Div 1 tournament (currently Tanzania) be a better contender?

Posted by Rich B on (February 13, 2008, 11:45 GMT)

All this sounds very sensible.

In particular, an Africa Cup will be a great tournament, probably comprising 6 teams (SA, Zim, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia and the winner of the Div 2 tournament) - just the exposure the second tier needs.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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.

All articles by this writer