June 3, 2009


'What's the point of Associate cricket?'

Martin Williamson

Warren Deutrom, the chief executive of Cricket Ireland, has launched a stinging attack on the ICC and the way it handles cricket below Test level.

The ICC has sunk millions of pounds into Associate and Affiliate cricket, and established several global competitions, but speaking to the Wisden Cricketer, Deutrom was unimpressed.

“What is the point of Associate cricket?” he said. “Ireland has proved itself head and shoulders above the rest of the Associate nations, winning all the available titles in every form of the game – four-day, 50-over and Twenty20. Yet we are bumping up against a glass ceiling. What does the ICC want us to do? How do we get from high-performance programme to the higher echelons of the world game? There is no road map for us. The issue brings to question the whole mission statement of the ICC High Performance programme: what is it preparing teams for?”

Deutrom has made no secret of his ambition to see Ireland play Test cricket, but he admitted there was little prospect of that happening in the near future. And, without that goal, he concluded, what was the point of the Associate merry-go-round.

“Three or four years from now there will be no new entrants in to the cosy club of full Test members. That is a significant frustration. It shows that despite the massive investment in the Associate programme, costing over £200 million over seven years, there is no stepping stone from No.1 of the Associate countries, into the Test world.

“Inclusion in the Future Tours programme gives guaranteed fixtures, which allows the CI board to put together a commercial package with some certainty. This makes it interesting for broadcasters, and then sponsors, ticketing and hospitality. Currently, we don’t know what next year’s fixtures are going to be. We are not saying that Ireland deserves to be a Test nation tomorrow but what steps do we need to take to get there?”

In a separate conversation, Deutrom told Cricinfo: “We are all aware that there is no established pathway to Test cricket for Associates, and ascension to the Full Member ranks by (for example) Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh appears to have happened rather haphazardly. For me, having top Associates playing the bottom-ranked Test teams is pure common sense and the first step in breaching the glass ceiling separating the Full Member and Associate world.”


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 Ahmad Rawfy on (February 23, 2010, 15:42 GMT)

I read thruough all the comments, all good points and i agree with them, Why associates thats right, everyone simes left behined afghanstan the king of Associates they deserve to be with big boys and ICC must do something to add more team in world of cricket world cup

Posted by Shreyan Laha on (January 14, 2010, 9:39 GMT)

Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, Kenya and Zimbabwe are some Associate Nations which should be given permanent Test Grant. Warren Deutrom is absolutely right! Why Associates? Even they deserve an opportunity. Did you see how badly Ireland defeated Bangladesh in T20 World Cup. Netherlands too defeated England (in their home ground) in the opening match of T20 World Cup 2009. (A thing which our country India couldn't do even if we were the champions of T20 2007) If we look at the records of 2009, Ireland had a handsome win % of 86.67 which even higher nations couldn't achieve. Ireland's O Brien Brothers, Botha, Porterfield etc are genuine hitters of the ball and they should be given an opportunity in IPL or other club cricket except county.

To conclude, Associate Cricket is a total crap. There should be a cricket World Cup in which there should be more teams than Football. Then only this game will reach more fans worldwide. Association is one form of reducing the popularity of the game.

Posted by Arsad bin Saylav on (September 9, 2009, 9:12 GMT)

I think irish fans r most bizzare. They always cry about promotion/relegation in test cricket. Ireland is playing ODI cricket for last 2 years. So,They know nothing about test cricket. So minnows, stop shouting & crying. Dont say anything abt test cricket

Posted by Shehwar on (September 8, 2009, 10:47 GMT)

To paddy, Ireland dont have genuine quality fast bowlers or quality spinners either who have the ability to take wkts @ test level. Intercontinental cup & test cricket is not the same. & the names u have taken except Amzad Khan others aren test materials

Posted by Rifayet bin Shakib on (September 8, 2009, 10:01 GMT)

Everybody is shouting & crying that in the recent siries Westindies was depleted or second string. But the no body is saying the truth. Even this BANGLADESH side is depleted or second string since the ICL exodus. So dont u think this is double standard

Posted by Arsad bin Sailav on (September 4, 2009, 10:03 GMT)

@ Mihir, I think u dont follow cricket that much. In the W,indies siries BANGLADESH wasnt full strength either(14 icl ers+Mortaza) so it was a level playing field & last time BD played a full strenght Windies team BANGLADESH defeated W.indies by 5 wkts

Posted by paddy on (August 25, 2009, 15:25 GMT)

every five years, the top two associate teams, prob ireland and holland should play the two worst test teams in a relegation/promotion test series

either that or the associate nations should pool their best players and form one test team, look at the last ten years, david hemp, niall o'brien, steve tikolo, ed joyce, amjad khan, ryan ten doeschate, kyle coetzer,could have easiy made a competitive test team, would have won more than 1 in 65 or whatever bangaladesh's record was

Posted by Mihir Mangaonkar on (July 24, 2009, 7:05 GMT)

So what Bangladesh won against West Indies Depleted Side does that take credit away from Bangladesh if West Indies Full Side would have been there then Bangladesh would have lost inngs defeat. Same with Ireland Eion Morgan was taken by England and Ed joyce too Botha was also not their for Ireland

Posted by Arsad bin Saylav on (July 22, 2009, 15:04 GMT)

To Andrew Kavanagh, there is a possibility of BANGLADESH tour of Ireland in june 2010. & BANGLADESH will thrash Ireland in irish soil. BANGLADESH team at the ICC WORLD T20 was depleted.It was a 3rd string team, Because we loss 14 of our top players to ICL

Posted by Andrew Kavanagh on (July 8, 2009, 23:47 GMT)

To Arsad bin Sailav ireland would beat bangladesh in irish/english conditions anyday of the week. Ireland would be better if we had a professional provincial championship (4 day). But crcket is ameteur and england keep on poaching our players. Ireland have alot of their players playing in england. Ireland would demolish every team in the intercontinental championship. If we had all our players. Also why is zim still a full member no-one will play them in a test and they haven't for some time.

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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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