Matches more than money
Much is spoken about the expansion of the international game, and if, as expected, proposals for a significant increase in funding for the Associates is approved when the ICC meets in June, then their progress should be further boosted.
But cash and goodwill can only go so far. What is widely agreed is that to improve, the leading Associates need to play more, and against the elite top ten Full Member countries. And that is where the problems come.
A casual glance at the international schedule will show that the major countries are on an almost constant global tour. In part this is because of the requirements of the Future Tours Programme, but more often than not the large gaps in that schedule are filled with lucrative one-day tours or tournaments.
In an ideal world, there would be time for India or England to undertake ambassadorial tours to Kenya or the Netherlands. But given the choice between a lucrative three-match series against commercially attractive opposition containing star names or a trip to a cricketing outpost in Africa or Europe, it's not a contest.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa