May 20, 2009

ICC Intercontinental Cup

Namibia anger as ICC dumps them from cup

Martin Williamson

Laurie Peters, Namibia’s chief executive, has called the ICC’s decision to restructure the Intercontinental Cup as “disappointing” and said that it will have a negative affect on cricket in the country.

Last month, Namibia finished eighth in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers which should have been enough to secure them a place in the 2009-10 Intercontinental Cup. But at an ICC development committee meeting earlier this week, the competition was restructured and Namibia, who finished runners-up in the 2007-08 event, were demoted to a four-team second division known as the Intercontinental Shield. A further blow was that the ICC ruled out any promotion or relegation between the divisions.

“It’s disappointing, and I not only see this as a Namibia issue but a development one in its entirety,” Peters told Cricinfo. “The ICC are all excited that there are now ten [Associate] countries competing against eight previously. One has to ask is this an extension of the competition … what competition? The four countries competing in the Shield will have three matches each and not even the incentive of a promotion-relegation match.

“Previously, eight countries participated. Should Zimbabwe decide to compete why not then have six in the Cup, and five in the Shield, with the opportunity at least one more game plus a promotion/relegation match.

“It’s important that the top Associate countries compete against the Full Members to prove that there is improvement and progress. However, the fact [Zimbabwe are] brought in the Intercontinental Cup at the expense of an Associate is very disappointing and sad for development.”

Peters was also worried that much of the development work inside Namibia would be undermined. “This will have its repercussions. The previous Intercontinental Cup raised a great amount of awareness, excitement and interest in our country. The final of the Intercontinental Cup had flashes and updates on four radio stations every five minutes. Suddenly cricket had a following amongst the local people that was there never before.”

He was also worried that there would be much less cricket for the national team against lower-profile opponents. In 2007-08 Namibia played seven Intercontinental Cup group games plus a final. This time round, they will have three matches against Bermuda, Uganda and UAE, with the possibility that only one will be at home.

“[It does] nothing to raise awareness and interest and serve the development of cricket,” Peters said. “This is a backward step in itself. Our sponsors have been wonderful over the past years but it will have be ‘wait and see’ as to the effect on our sponsorship.”

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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 Vikram Maingi on (May 25, 2009, 5:27 GMT)

I agree with Sumantro Das. Although Namibia struggled in the shorted version of the game but in the last ICC Intercontinental Cup (4-day format), they were the runners-up in the tournamanet and even topped in the league Stage.

Posted by colin macbeth on (May 22, 2009, 4:16 GMT)

Andruid (May 20) has got it spot on. The whole point of the Intercontinental Cup is that it gives teams experience of the longer game; it has nothing to do with the World Cups, 50/50 or 20/20. It seems Mr Lorgat and his cronies have lost sight of that, or at least have not been briefed properly. 'Topspinner'

Posted by Sumantro Das on (May 21, 2009, 18:40 GMT)

This does not promote the development of cricket, permanently relegating a runners-up team to a lower division. The ICC needs to sit down and realize the repercussions before making decisions such as this.

If one recalls, it was only a few years back that England had a strong Test team but struggled woefully in ODIs. The ICC needs to understand that there are teams which simply fare better in the longer version of the game. Penalizing those teams for being good in one form of the game is impeding the overall development of cricket in that nation.

Posted by sam bishop on (May 21, 2009, 13:34 GMT)

I think its disgraceful. Namibia finished 2nd in the last Intercontinental Cup, beating teams such as Canada and Bermuda, now they're put in the 2nd division without any possibility of promotion. No offence to Afghanistan who did fantastically to earn ODI status- fully deserved as well but they have never played 1st Class cricket before and are now placed above teams like Namibia and U.A.E who have worked hard in previous years and made very obvious improvements in their game. I think its a good idea for Zimbabwe to be included but not at the expense of one of the top associates who was so dominant in the competition last time around.

Posted by Daniel on (May 21, 2009, 8:35 GMT)

It's such a waste of a capable and experienced competitor. Afghanistan should take Namibia's place in the Shield competition since they are the newcomers to Associate level and haven't yet played a single game in the longer format. However, there's a chance that Zimbabwe and Ireland will be promoted to Test cricket sooner rather than later; and if that's the case, Namibia will surely be back in the top flight competition.

Posted by gaveupcricket on (May 21, 2009, 5:50 GMT)

they should add Pakistan to continental cup to ease them back into to test cricket status

Posted by Rick Leighton on (May 21, 2009, 1:11 GMT)

I think that the ICC decision is a disgrace. Namibia finish top of the table and play in the final of the 4-day format late last year. That counts for nothing and their performance in the 50-over format determines their fate in the 4-day format ... where is the logic of that?

Posted by christopher gaskin on (May 21, 2009, 0:47 GMT)

Namibian officials have every right to be disappointed. Why should Zimbabwe be allowed straight back into the cricketing ranks without proving they are worthwhile in the league. Namibia earnt there entry into the cup fair and square and should have been allowed to stay in the competition, Zimbabwe should have to play more friendly matches before being allowed back into any official tournaments.

Posted by Sailesh on (May 20, 2009, 23:23 GMT)

You have to feel for Namibia, who are clearly among the top associate nations in the four day game. If too many fixtures was the reason for splitting the intercontinental cup, isn't a ten team tournament with two groups, with the top two/three teams from each group qualifying for the next round a better solution? I will be the first to credit the ICC for the good work it has done with the associate nations, but it has bungled up on this occasion.

Posted by andruid on (May 20, 2009, 19:54 GMT)

What sort of decrepit logic has the finalist of a tournament relegated on the back of their performance in a completely unrelated event. It would be like Liverpool being relegated from the premiership for not making the lat 16 round of the FA Cup.

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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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