September 25, 2009


Smoke and mirrors surround ex-pats

Martin Williamson

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

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Posted by Terry Jones on (November 16, 2009, 6:17 GMT)

I dont have a problem with "ringer" players from a full country playing for an associate country (eg: Nannes for Holland) or even an associate country playing for an affiliate country. However, I do think that there should be a limit of say 2 ringers per associate/affiliate. The purpose of the ringers would be to help improve the performance of other team mates (like how Allan Border carried Australia in 1980's or Brian Lara carried WI in early 2000's). Imagine how quickly associate & affiliate players would improve if they got to play along side a Shane Warne or Adam Gillcrist. The emphases of the policy could be to get an experienced recently retired player from a nearby full country to be a player-coach in associate country. The advantages of this would be that players could retire (eg: 35-40) and play on in an easier form for a few years (eg: 40-45) at the international level. This would give experience to younger associate players and open full country spots for younger players.

Posted by Arun Menon on (September 25, 2009, 15:48 GMT)

This is an excellent point raised which is at the core of the development of associate and affiliate cricket teams. What these countries need is a local "indigenous" star players, which the young players would like to emulate and thus promote and truly develop the game among the people in the country. As an Indian , I would not hesitate to say that players like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar has played a huge role in popularizing the game in India and has set the ball rolling for the current star players.

Posted by colin macbeth on (September 25, 2009, 8:59 GMT)

The article by James Siviter is immensely important and addresses a growing worry in the cricket development world. He makes several salient points and it is recommended reading - even if it's on the 'opposition' site.

Posted by chris on (September 25, 2009, 8:43 GMT)

I would also cite Slovenia, friends of my club (London Fields) who do a fantastic job bringing Slovene players into the set up. It must be very frustrating for these sides to lose to teams taking short cuts to success.

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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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