May 8, 2009

ICC Intercontinental Cup

Intercontinental Cup could include Zimbabwe

Martin Williamson

Zimbabwe Cricket has told Cricinfo that it is working with the ICC on proposals that it enters a team into the 2009-10 Intercontinental Cup. The tournament features the leading eight Associates who play each other in four-day first-class matches spread over more than a year, with the top two playing-off in a final at a neutral venue.

The idea that Zimbabwe, who have been suspended from Test cricket since 2005, participate in the competition was one of the proposals put forward to the ICC to enable their cricketers to prepare for an eventual return to the Test arena. A ZC spokesman said that the board were “in principle agreeable” and it was sorting out the “finer details” with the ICC.

An ICC source said that were Zimbabwe Cricket to agree it could create potential difficulties for it. “It would, in effect, admit that they were at Associate level, and unless they do very well, there would be a compelling argument for them to be stripped of their Full Member status. Imagine the situation where Ireland or Scotland, whose funding from the ICC is a fraction of Zimbabwe’s, beat them. There could be calls for that anomaly to be resolved.”

There are also issues over where games would be played as some countries involved in the competition still have serious political reservations over travelling to, and hosting, Zimbabwe. Those, however, are not believed to be insurmountable.

The other uncertainty which will need to be addressed by the ICC development committee when it meets later this month is whether, if Zimbabwe Cricket agrees to take part, the competition is expanded to nine countries or one of the existing Associates will be dropped to make room for them. However, it seems highly unlikely that an Associate – and Namibia would be the prime candidate as they secured the eighth and final qualifying slot – will be ditched.


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 gaveupcricket on (May 21, 2009, 5:54 GMT)

if zimbabwe is allowed so that they can regain test cricket status, why not include paksitan in this tournament. that way, pakistan cab attempt to regain test status in a ten year plan.

Posted by Steven Davies-Morris on (May 14, 2009, 21:11 GMT)

Zims playing in the ICC 4 day event is a top idea. The 2 bottom-ranked test nations always in that tournament is even better. Since the full members seem reluctant to send "A" (or even "B") teams to visit the top associates for 4 day 1st class matches this is how Ireland et al can show that they're ready to step up. Top associates won't beat the top 6-8 test teams in multi-day cricket, but the only way they'll force the hand of the ICC fraternity into helping them professionalize (serious $ like Z & B get, subsidized coaches, "A" tours, etc) is by demonstrating on the field that they can hold their own with the bottom 2-4 test teams. If it turns out they can win then that underscores the point that they should get a helping hand ASAP. My gut says that on green wickets a full-strength Ireland takes both Z & B in the 4 day game. Away from home, the reverse. Let's find out, then Joyce, Morgan, etc won't have to don the 3 Lions to play at the top, and the door will also open for others.

Posted by Terry Jones on (May 12, 2009, 13:04 GMT)

I agree that Zimbarbwe should be playing in the 2009-10 Intercontinental Cup. I also think that the winner of the 09/10 IC should play Test Cricket for 2 years. If that Team cant play home matches due to security (eg: Afganistan) or lack of pitch conditions then they should play ALL away matches.

I think that a fair competition is as follows: Teams 1 - 10 play Test Cricket for 2 years. Teams 11 - 18 play Intercontinental Cup for 2 years.

Winner of Intercontinental Cup (eg: Team 11) moves into playing Test Cricket for 2 years and 10th place team in Test Cricket moves into Intercontinental Cup for 2 years.

Winning Intercontinental Cup should have a point, and not just a trophy, and 2 years in Test Cricket would do that.

I think if this competition were to occur, Ireland would beat Zimbarbwe and move into test cricket for 2 years. After 2 years Bangladesh would end up 10th, and move back down to be replaced by Canada or Scotland.

Posted by Daniel Smith on (May 12, 2009, 11:40 GMT)

I agree. It would be very unfair on any Associate team to be dropped to make way for Zimbabwe. Namibia did very well in the last Intercontinental Cup, and show promise. It would be better to have nine teams and therefore more games. The Associates need the chance to get more practice.

One thought that does spring to mind though is if Zimbabwe join, how about Bangladesh too? Although then it will be a two-tier Test structure.

Posted by Adam Scholem on (May 11, 2009, 13:31 GMT)

Zimbabwe's inability as a full-member of the ICC to play Test matches should not be a cause to penalize any of the Associates/Affiliates who have earned theit places in the Intercontinental Cup.

Let Zimbabwe regain some form by expanding the Intercontinental Cup, or by allowing them to tour other full member countries and play their first-class sides.

The promotion and expansion of the game in the second-tier nations is too important to scupper for the saving of a disfunctional full-member without whomt he cricketing world has gotten along just fine these last two years.

By all means, let them play, but not at Namibia's expense.

Posted by Vikram Maingi on (May 8, 2009, 9:22 GMT)

It would be unfair if Zimbabwe replaces Namibia in the ICC Intercontinental cup. Namibia came 8th in the World Cup Qualifiers, which is a 50-over games competition unlike the Intercontinental Cup. Intercontinental Cup consists of 4-day tournaments, which is a different ball game than a limited over tournament. Moreover, in 2007-09 Intercontinental Cup Namibia was the runners-up, losing to Ireland in the finals after topping the tables in the league stage. Better idea would be to keep Zimbabwe in the tournament as Team#9. Or otherwise even 10 or 12 teams could be divided into 2 groups.

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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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