Smoke and mirrors surround ex-pats
An interesting article on Cricket Europe website regarding the ongoing debate surrounding Associates and Affiliates whose national sides are made up of more expats – usually from Asia or the Caribbean – that home-grown players.
It cites Norway as one of the worst examples – not one of the national side is Norwegian born – and if teams were limited to only five players who qualified through the ICC’s generous residency rules, then the Middle East would go from being an up-and-coming force to being wiped off the map.
It is only to be expected that on cricket’s frontiers, ex-pats will sow the seeds of a growing sport. But they must show willing to develop the sport beyond their enclaves and introduce locals both to the game and to national representation, even if this may, at least in the short term, have a detrimental impact on results.
The article cites the example of Japan, who have imposed their own quotas on the number of home-grown players, but the ICC has shown an unwillingness to tackle the problem. Cricinfo has made more than one request to establish how many players in a side have qualified through residency but such questions rarely produce the requisite answer.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa