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September 23, 2012

Get the dictionary, minnows need a new term

Jarrod Kimber
Kevin O'Brien lets out a scream, Australia v Ireland, World Twenty20 2012, Group B, Colombo, September 19, 2012
"Do I look like a small, insignificant fish?"  © ICC/Getty
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Minnow. Noun * a small freshwater Eurasian fish of the carp family, which typically forms large shoals. * a small or insignificant person or organization: the paper is a minnow in the national newspaper mass market

"We're not minnows." Trent Johnston, 2012.

Odd terms in cricket seem to be the norm. The original meaning for Chinaman allegedly comes from when an English player couldn't believe he'd been bowled by a West Indian player of Chinese heritage and said in a largely racist way: "Fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman." If a player said anything like that today he'd hounded in the press and suspended by the ICC. But yet we still call left arm wrist spinners, like Brad Hogg, Chinaman.

It's doubtful that in modern cricket we'd ever have another racially motivated term come through. New deliveries are usually named by the bowler, a quick thinking member of the press or Tony Greig. And shots are mostly named after the batsman who plays them, or just a simple way of describing the shot.

If you aren't one of the eight main teams in cricket, the boys club as the outsiders call it, you're referred to as a minnow. A small fish of insignificance. Hardly worth talking about, mostly patronised, not seen as professional or good enough for teams to tour. In the 1983 World Cup the minnow Zimbabweans defeated the mighty Australians. In 1999 Zimbabwe played magnificent cricket. In 2003 John Davison set the tournament alight for Canada, and Kenya made the semi finals. In 2007 Ireland defeated Pakistan, and in 2011 they beat England. Over the years Bangladesh have often claimed big scalps as well.

That's not even to mention that the very host of this tournament was a minnow who only 13 years after gaining Test playing status won a World Cup. Sri Lanka are the ultimate heroes for countries like Ireland, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and even Bangladesh. They went from non-Test playing to World Cup-winning in 13 years. When was the last time they were referred to as a minnow?

Minnow is a term I've always used. Associates and affiliates makes the teams sound like their insurance firms, and minnows is the term that everyone not associated with the non-Test playing world uses frequently.

Until a few days ago I never even realised that the smaller nations hated the word minnow. After a chat with the Afghanistan photographer and Ireland's Trent Johnston, hate is the exact word some of the people from the associate nations feel about the word minnow. They feel it denigrates them as cricketers, patronises them, and doesn't take their deeds seriously. Johnston probably has more right than most to hate it. He's spent years being branded this way: "I'm sick of hearing minnow on the TV". Perhaps the worst time for Ireland was the two months of constant minnow referencing when Ireland made the latter stages of the 2007 World Cup.

Afghanistan's cricket team is their No. 1 ranked sporting team. According to Johnston, the Irish Cricket team is the No. 2 ranked sporting team in Ireland. These are not minority players or freak shows. Afghanistan, Ireland, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have probably spent more time preparing for this tournament than any of the major teams. This is their main chance of notoriety. They are full of professional players, coaches, analysts, fitness staff and administration. They came here to win. So far, with two of them heading home, and only must win games for Ireland and Bangladesh left, their chances are slim.

When they do win, they're seen as comedy upsets or plucky amateurs who've downed the arrogant professionals. None of these teams win enough for their own liking. They all do what they can do to improve with average facilities and little finances. They're aware they need to win more consistently to gain our ultimate respect.

But perhaps these sides have earned enough of our respect for us to stop using a word they believe, quite rightly, belittles them. We could stop using the term minnow in honour of all the time and effort professionals and amateurs have put into making their national sides stronger, especially those from nations that aren't traditional cricket playing nations. These people have grown the game, often in places where it needs the most help, and I think the least we can do is just stop using a term they don't like.

It'll be hard for cricket fans and the media to stop saying it; it's inbred so deep in cricket's odd lexicon. But the good thing about cricket is that no one will settle for associates or affiliates as the name for long before someone comes up with something better. This time, perhaps it will be something a bit more respectful than calling anyone who doesn't win regular Tests a small fish of insignificance. Cricket doesn't really need the "M" word, but it does need sides like Ireland and Afghanistan.

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

RSS Feeds: Jarrod Kimber

Keywords: Minnows, Offbeat

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Posted by danoz on (November 5, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

the icc should have goals.

kenya playing test by 2020

ireland playing test by 2020

namibia playing test by 2020

zimbabwe being competetive(beating the top 5 nations consistantly) by 2020

bangladesh being competetive(beating the top 5 nations consistantly) by 2020

u.a.e playing test by 2025

the netherlands playing test 2025

afghanistan playing test 2025

the pacific islands playing test by 2025

nepal playing test by 2025.

canada playing test by 2025

each of these countries should try to grow the game by 5% each year.

china should have 30 universities playing cricket on tv by 2025

u.s.a should have 30 universities on tv by 2025.

the west indies division 2 standard has improved to the standard of division 1 and you have the whole carribean playing cricket to test standard.

i think the icc has to toughing the eligabilty so countries have teams of home grown players(the netherlands has 2 home grown players) so international cricket isnt distorted with foreign players

Posted by danoz on (November 5, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

if the icc wants to break into china,canada and the u.s.a they have to set up 20/20 college/university leagues for students.

and hopefully get it on t.v.

in america and canada thier are expats from india and the west indies which will help the standard.

with globally minded universities they could offer cricket scholarships for native born americans,who might of missed out hockey or baseball scholarships.if the icc could set up 20 universities that play cricket it would give cricket a foot in the door and the u.s.a would become competeive.

when university/college games get on t.v the icc should have a grass roots campaigns to set up junior comps

canada could do similar things.

the icc could do the same thing in china,hong kong has a cricket culture which might help but doesent have as many expats.if the icc could set up 20-30 universities that offer cricket scholarships china would be on track to develop into a test nation.

and get this chinese unversity cricket games on t.v

Posted by danoz on (November 5, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

india holds the key to cricket in asia its thier responsablity to grow the game in thier neighborhood.

they should send coaches to nepal,afghanistan and bangladesh like australia sent denis lillee to india to help with bowling.

afghanistan should have the goal of playing test cricket by 2020 nepal should have a goal of playing test cricket by 2025,bangladesh should have a goal of being in top 5 nations by 2020,and all 3 nations have a goal of growing the game by 5% each year.

malaysia should set similar goals.

u.a.e should keep hosting matches vs pakistan as its unsafe to play in pakistan they should have admission free for kids and build cricket nets in each town.

u.a.e should host matches vs afghanistan as its unsafe to play in afghanistan.

u.a.e should play matches vs the teams touring u.a.e to play either pakistan or afghanistan.

u.a.e should set goals to play international cricket by 2025,india must help the region grow

Posted by danoz on (November 5, 2012, 9:11 GMT)

a way to help the americas out is to have a west indies division 2 including all the lesser nations into the west indies.

west indies has had viv richards from antigua which a population of 70000,omari banks from anguilla with a population of 14000.

i would have trinidad & tobago,jamaica,leeward islands(antigua,st kitts,nevis,anguilla virgin islands),windward islands(grenada,st vincent,dominica,st lucia),barbados and guyana in division 1.

i would have cuba,belize,suriname,hispaniola(haiti and dominican republic)bahamas,caymen islands,{puetro rico,guadeloupe,st maartin/st martin(they can supply the leeward island with players when the standard improves)},{martinique(they can supply winward islands with players when thier standard improves)},turks and caicos in division 2.

when division 2 standard improves they can enter division 1 and supply the west indies with test players.

st lucia proves that west indies expansion can work even suppling the west indies captain.

Posted by danoz on (November 5, 2012, 8:32 GMT)

with europe i would create 3 divisions in english domestic comp and give scotland,ireland and the netherlands teams.i have a problem with scotland playing international cricket(its like queensland seperating from australia,cape town seperating from south africa or jaimaica seperating from the west indies){thier is some talk of scotland seperating from england then fair enough they can have a international team} it robs other countries the chance of playing international cricket.i would have scotland supply england with players like wales and glenmorgan

i would give scotland 2 teams glasgow and edinburgh,i would give ireland 3 teams belfast,dublin and cork and give the netherlands 2 teams rotterdam and amsterdam.

the comp would look like this glasgow vs kent,endinburgh vs somerset,dublin vs essex,belfast vs sussex,cork vs yorkshire,amsterdam vs middlesex and rotterdam vs hampshire and so on.

aswell as teams touring england play vs ireland and the netherlands

Posted by danoz on (November 5, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

for australia to grow cricket and get aboriginal players playing is to have a top end league,have cairns,darwin,alice springs and broome play in a 4 team comp in the australian winter(the dry season in tropical australia) players who carnt get contracts in england or the ipl can play.

have free admission for kids,have 20/20 cricket on friday and 100/100 1 innings cricket on saturday and sunday and put it on pay tv.

australia can play winter test series in the top end(the recent under 19's world cup played in townsville)

i not sure what the pitches would be like but i guess cairns and darwin would be green,broome would have a breeze(like the freemantle doctor) and alice spring would turn.

another idea is to make canberra the 7 team in the australian domestic comp,put lights on manuka oval the can play in the bbl and 50/50 and 4 day cricket.

this way you can have 7 tests a summer,5 test against the stronger nations,2 vs the lesser nations and 3&4 test against the middle nations

Posted by danoz on (November 5, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

a way to help new zealand cricket is to have them play in australia.

i would like to see new zealand play domestic cricket in australia.in the big bash i would give new zealand 3 teams auckland,wellington and christchuch to play against both sydney and melbounre teams and the rest of australian teams.

the comp would look like this auckland vs brisbane heat,wellington vs hobart hurricanes and christchurch vs adelaide strikers and so on

and have 2 sides in the australian 4 day and 50 over domestic teams the north island and south island.

the north island plays at auckland,wellington,hamilton,napier,

the south island plays at christchurch,dunedin,ivercargill,nelson.

the comp would look like this north island(n.z) vs n.s.w,south island(n.z) vs victoria and so on

this way the kiwis play play high quality cricket and play on aussie pitches and take cricket to the people and the aussies can play on new zealand green pitches and the kiwi fans can see good aussie players.

Posted by danoz on (November 5, 2012, 7:20 GMT)

with the pacific islands i would combine them like the west indies so instead of fiji,western samoa,cook islands,new calendonia,papua new guinea,tonga,vanuatu,solomon,nauru playing on thier own in which case they would never have a chance of playing test cricket but as a combined team they would have a chance of playing test cricket.

the icc already has a combined asia/pacific team with japan.if you get rid of japan and just have the pacific island the would have a chance of playing test cricket.

the combined pacific islands team might look like this.3 players from fiji,3 players from papua new guinea,2 players tonga,1 player from samoa,1 player from vanuatu,1 player from solomon islands,1 player from cook islands and so on.

thier domestic comp would be fiji vs papua new guinea,new calandonia vs vanuatu,tonga vs samoa and so on.

if all islands combined thier funds they could fund a combined pacific islands,the icc should aim to build cricket nets in every pacific island village

Posted by danoz on (November 5, 2012, 6:57 GMT)

the icc has divided the world into different zones like the americas,asia,pacific,africa and europe.and different divisions.

with africa kenya,zimbabwe and namibia are the most likely to one day play tests,thats where the icc should spend money.south africa under 19s or south africa a could play against zimbabwe,kenya and namibia on a regular basis till other countries improve.aswell as namibia,kenya and zimbabwe tour south africa every year.also when test teams tour south africa they can play games against kenya,namibia and zimbabwe.

denis lillee set up a fast bowling acadamy in india and has spent 20 years of his life helping india develop fast bowlers,zimbabwe,namibia and kenya need simalar help.

the icc should set up fast bowling clinics with professional coaches(it might take 20 years like india) but in the long run it will help world cricket.

the icc needs 10-20 year plans on world cricket development and growing the game at grass root level with aim at growing 5% each year.

Posted by Meety on (September 25, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

@Anurag Acharya at September 24, 2012 7:34 AM - I am a fan of a 16-team World Cup. Although I think the ditching of the Champ Trophy will put pressure on a reduced number of teams in the 50 over format. The 16 team (4 Pools of 4), is great in that done the right way, you could save about 20 matches off the 2011 model. The problem is, the 2011 model was designed to ensure that the big teams (India primarily), do not get eliminated early which would be a financial disaster. The best thing about a 4 Pools of 4, is that you would basically give "minnows" (there I said it), the chance to play at least one other side of comparable ability before they might get eliminated. It would really work like the final 16 in a Tennis Major.

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