World Cup 2007 March 7, 2007

Dravid supports minnow participation

AFP
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Rahul Dravid wants the ICC to provide the minnow countries with facilities, training, and games to help them improve their standard © AFP

Rahul Dravid, the Indian captain, has said that minnows should be playing in the World Cup despite India's demolition of Netherlands by 182 runs in the warm-up game at the Trelawny Stadium in Jamaica on Tuesday.

Dravid said the ICC Associate nations, who don't play Tests, add a lot of character and charm to the event, and they must be rewarded for spreading the game in their countries. "I think you have to encourage them to play, and having myself played a season in Scotland, I know the difficulties the associate nations and their players go through to play this game," said Dravid. "What's the incentive for them to play the game with such hardships? Many of the players are amateurs, and take time off from work to play the game and keep it alive in their countries, so I think the International Cricket Council has to do a lot to help them, and not just give them opportunities in tournaments like this.

"The ICC has to identify four or five nations outside of the top eight or nine, and ensure that they can get them up to a standard and provide them with the facilities, training, and games to ensure that they are - at least - semi-professional which will help them improve their standard."

Luuk van Troost, the Netherlands captain, was glad for Dravid's support. "Everybody knows where Sri Lanka cricket was about 20 or so years ago, but look at where they are today," said van Troost. "This is our goal. We are putting a lot of time and energy into it, and we are looking at raising our game each and every time we take the field.

"We deserve to be here. We worked hard, we qualified, and I am sure that we will show in the rest of the tournament that we have a right to be here. We were just a bit nervous in this match.

"All of the associate teams participated in the ICC High Performance programme, and we had the World Cricket League tournament a few weeks ago in Kenya, and the standard was pretty high," said van Troost. "I am going to predict that one of the Associate teams will upset one of Test-playing nations, and when it happens, it will be fantastic and proof that we should be here, but I will be waiting to hear what people will say then."