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An ICC spokesman has criticised players from Afghanistan and Uganda who absconded at the end of the recent ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifiers in Toronto, and who are believed to be looking to claim asylum in Canada.
Reacting to concerns that the players' action will have a detrimental effect on future tournaments, a spokesman told Cricinfo: "The ICC does not condone the act of players absconding during or after playing in an overseas tournament. Such an action does not benefit anyone: it affects the member from whom the players come as it means it is weaker for subsequent events.
"It affects the country where they come from as it damages its reputation and, potentially at least, makes it harder for nationals and players without intentions to remain in a country illegally to obtain travel documents in the future; and it damages the reputation of cricket. Even those that abscond are potentially worse off as they become illegal within that country."
There has been growing concern that the recent defections will make it harder for players from some countries to obtain visas for future events. "The ICC does not play a role in obtaining visas for member boards," the spokesman said. "That is the responsibility of each of those members. It is also the responsibility of those members to have knowledge of each of their players and their likely behaviour."
Asked if the ICC might take a more hands-on role in such matters, the spokesman said it was not for the ICC to interfere in the way that teams are selected. "The ICC does not seek to vet, to approve or disapprove of any selections of players for any teams and that has to be correct; each member is free to select whoever it sees fit."
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
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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.