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The first ever gathering of the Americas region's strongest national teams is likely to be staged in Toronto, Canada in August

Tony Munro

April 11, 2000

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The first ever gathering of the Americas region's strongest national teams is likely to be staged in Toronto, Canada in August.

The United States, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Argentina are likely to join host Canada in the tournament.

Nothing official has been announced, but administrators are understood to be keen to see the tournament eventuate.

Most Americas countries regard the West Indies Cricket Board as being disinterested in cricket's growth outside its own jurisdiction and are eager to become self-reliant rather than wait for help that may never come.

The competitiveness of the international sporting market was emphasised in news received recently from the Caribbean.

FIFA, the world governing body for soccer/football, has made grants of $US1,000,000 to relatively minor soccer powers such as the Cayman Islands and other Caribbean countries which could be considered potential cricket nurseries.

While the ICC is directing sizeable funds into its development programme, it is unlikely it would have the resources to compete with those sort of figures.

At this stage, Associate members of the ICC receive grants on a four-yearly basis, while Affiliate members are given funding for specific projects.

Anyone doubting the need for the ICC's globalisation policy only has to witness the financial rewards FIFA gains from governing a game which is played in almost every country on the planet.

A conversation with former Hong Kong captain, Stewart Brew, this week revealed just how vexing the issue of national team qualification rules is.

Stewart disclosed that when the Hong Kong Cricket Association sat down to choose its 1997 ICC Trophy squad, it had around 30 players to choose from who conformed to the ICC eligibility rules.

The problem will be further exacerbated with the introduction of the ICC's nine citizen rule.

Long term residents such as Stewart are not entitled to citizenship - they have residential status only.

Do I hear you say "tough - get the Chinese playing the game"?

The Africanisation policies of the United Cricket Board of South Africa and Zimbabwe Cricket Union have been in place since the 1980s and only in the last couple of years have Africans begun appearing in national teams.

The dilemma for the HKCA is that government funding is partly reliant on the performance of the national team and players from the HKCA's extensive development programme would probably not start appearing in the national team for another seven or eight years.

The HKCA is not alone here either as Persian Gulf countries were stumped by finding eligible players for the postponed Gulf Cup.

For instance, two-thirds of the population of Kuwait are not entitled to citizenship.

Its a perplexing issue for the ICC as it seeks to eliminate the possibility of a repetition of the manner in which the United Arab Emirates qualified for the 1995 World Cup.

'Beyond The Test World' was created in January last year with the intention of helping to publicise cricket in those areas foreign to the game.

So it was particularly pleasing when news came through from Cuba that the February 7 article regarding Michael White's efforts to reignite interest there had stimulated a healthy response.

Although the majority of emails expressed goodwill, Michael (and the Havana International Cricket Club) received several concrete expressions of interest from potential visiting teams.

Belize club, Berlan, is likely to be the first of these to materialise, when it visits in the next couple of months, providing gear and coaching clinics.

Any club interested in visiting Cuba to play cricket should contact Michael at

Wisden Cricket Almanack's "Cricket Around The World" section provided the inspiration for 'Beyond The Test World'.

So it was interesting to hear about the good job Lawrence Booth has once again done in compiling reports from some most unlikely cricket locations.

The featured countries are: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Norway, The Philippines, Seychelles, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United States, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Only Azerbaijan, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iran and Israel have not been featured on 'Beyond The Test World'. The latter prefers to support its own site, while I was unsuccessful in numerous attempts at getting through to the contact in Guadeloupe.

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