ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers 2009 May 20, 2009

USA fast-tracked into the big time

The ICC has thrown the USA an unexpected lifeline by inviting them to take part in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in the UAE later this year.

After several years of infighting, including two periods where the USA Cricket Association was actually suspended by the ICC, the team currently languishes in the lower regions of world cricket.

However, the ICC's development committee decided to fast-track the team into the Qualifiers which features the six Associates with ODI status alongside hosts UAE. This will be greeted with anger by the many countries above the USA in the global pecking order, not least Namibia, the Associate on the periphery of joining the top six, who have been hit below the belt for the second time in as many days.

On Tuesday, they were excluded from the top flight of the Intercontinental Cup after the ICC decided to restructure the competition, partially to accommodate Zimbabwe, and now they find that they have been leapfrogged by the USA.

"For the USA the tournament represents a wonderful opportunity to move towards a brighter future and exploit its potential after a period on the fringes following previous suspensions and demotions because of administrative issues," explained Haroon Lorgat, the ICC's chief executive. "The ICC has strategic plans to target and strengthen the game in potential growth markets and the USA, with its player base, development potential and cricket broadcast interest, now backed with a new professional administration set-up, has obvious potential in all these areas."

Lorgat's comments suggested that the decision owed little to cricketing credentials and almost everything to commercial and marketing opportunities. How that will sit with other Associates remains to be seen. The last global event USA participated in was the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 in May 2008 when they lost to Jersey in the semi-finals.

"Twenty20 is the perfect vehicle for cricket to excite the USA," Lorgat added. "The carrot for its players and administrators is that a top-two finish will earn it a place in the main event which is to be held in its own region."

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Terry on May 22, 2009, 12:53 GMT

    ICC World Cricket League is good in theory, however I believe a number of changes need to be made: [1] Relegation & Promotion: ICC Continential Cup & T20 Teams should be separate r&p system from ODI WCL: (a) 4DAY TEAMS: Bottom of Tier 1 & Top of Tier 2 should swop every 2 years. Bottom of Tier 2 should swop with highest ranked ODI team every 2 years (that isnt already in comp or test team). (b) T20 TEAMS: Regular comp should be set up where bottom team is replaced every 2 years with highest ranked ODI team (that isnt already in comp or test team). [2] TOP LEAGUES: Full members should be split into 2 Tiers (1-6, 7-10) for each format of the game with top 2 associated teams in that format in Tier 2 (ie: 6 teams per Tier). All teams should be required to play against teams in their tier over a 4 year period (with finals), with bottom of each tier swopping with top of below tier every 2 years. [3] WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS: Tiers 1+2 Auto qualify with Tiers 3+4 need to qualify.

  • Tim on May 21, 2009, 22:17 GMT

    Once again ICC shows they're totally clueless about promoting cricket to Americans. Play favorite and send the USA team (which no American knows even exists) to play thousands of miles overseas in a country few Americans could find on a map. Yessireebub, this will really light a fire under Americans for cricket.

  • Nick on May 21, 2009, 21:45 GMT

    An idea that makes no sense whatsoever- and just proves what a bad design the World Cricket League is, if team's positions in it doesn't mean a thing whatsoever. On the other hand, I'll actually care about the World Twenty20 now. So, it seems to have successfully had some impact.

  • Colin on May 20, 2009, 17:57 GMT

    I agree with Martin Williamson that Namibia (and to a certain degree UAE, Bermuda, Uganda, Oman and Denmark) must feel very hard done by; particularly Namibia for, in addition to the two instances he cites, the Namibian Under-19s just missed out on advancement to their age group's penultimate WCQ last month, pipped by Sierra Leone (good for them!) and D/L though scoring many more runs in the competition than any other team. This is a blatant misuse of authority; indeed it sits badly alonside the haphazard elevation of (at the time) Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh to Test status - Bangladesh, I believe, because they could fill stadia more easily than Kenya, who were a better side at the time. This USA move is a retrograde step: the idea of bringing Zimbabwe into the Intercontinental Cup structure is a good one, despite edging out Namibia and UAE; promoting the USA beyond their station is not. Toppy

  • Hashaam on May 20, 2009, 8:23 GMT

    woo hoo! im so happy! about time ICC gave us some recognition! there are thousands of americans that play cricket every weekend. about time we get to cheer our boys on!

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