ICC critical following player defections
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 Africa