Seychelles sole applicant for Affiliate membership
As a sign of the times, Seychelles will be the only applicant for Affiliate membership of the ICC in 2010. The ICC had introduced a little-known stipulation in 2008 stating that all new applicants for Affiliate membership must have a minimum of eight men's teams, effectively ensuring that the applications would come from countries where the game had consolidated.
Existing members were told that they had until June 2010 to meet the criteria. Those who did not, would be given a further 12 months to conform before their membership might be reviewed.
Seychelles has 10 teams including women's and veteran's teams. Eight men's teams contest several short-term competitions based around the capital, Victoria, on the main island of Mahe.
Jonathon Paul, Seychelles Cricket Association (SCA) President, is himself a Zimbabwean and is proud of the many nationalities, including Seychellois, although he would like to see more locals involved. "It's a real melting pot - nearly every [cricket-playing] country is represented - British, Australian, South African, Sri Lankan, Indian," Paul said.
Locals are involved in the league, whom Paul says "are as good as anyone else". A combined team used to play a Mauritian club side on a home-and-away basis until recently and a few years ago the Seychelles played in a triangular tournament against the Maldives and Mauritius.
This year the SCA is running its first-ever four-team junior competition, which Paul hopes will lead to the game's introduction into schools despite obstacles. "The game was nearly eradicated after independence so not too many Seychellois have any idea about the game," he said. Progress has been solid though, as the SCA only began running coaching clinics on Saturday mornings for school children last year.