ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2011-12 March 15, 2012

World T20 should include more Associates - Cullinan


The ICC World Twenty20 should expand to accommodate more Associate teams, according to Daryll Cullinan, the former South Africa batsman. Cullinan is at the World T20 qualifiers as a consultant to Namibia, who have won their first three matches, including a surprise victory over Ireland in their opening game. He said the shortest format of the game provides the best opportunity for Associates to play top-level cricket.

"It is important for the teams to have the chance to qualify for global events," Cullinan told ESPNcricinfo. "T20 cricket is unpredictable and is a very good platform for Associate countries. There are players who can take the game away from the opposition. In fifty-over cricket, it is a lot harder, as the better teams have a chance to recover. In T20 cricket, there isn't a chance to recover, so they can be a lot more competitive. I would support the idea of six teams playing in the next T20 World Cup."

Only two of the 16 teams at the current qualifier in Dubai will progress to the main event that will be staged in Sri Lanka in September. Initially, six teams were due to be included but after the ICC decided to keep the 14-team format for the 2015 fifty-over World Cup, they reduced the number of Associate at the twenty-over event to two. They have promised the 2014 event will have more teams.

Cullinan believes this is the best avenue for the Associate players to get exposed to cricket in its highest form. "Associate teams need to be realistic that Test cricket is probably out of their reach," he said. "They may be able to have a good team of players and compete, but over an extensive period you need a greater depth of players and a culture of cricket, and that can take a long, long time. I'm not saying it's not possible, but it will take a lot for it to happen."

An important factor that could assist in developing cricket in Associate countries is the involvement of former players like Cullinan, who has eight years of international experience. Often, it's nothing more than good luck or coincidence that links a former international to these countries. In Cullinan's case, he went to university with Namibian Cricket president Francois Erasmus and knows the chief executive, Graham McMillan, who is former team-mate Brian McMcmillan's brother.

"It is important to expose people to Associate cricket," Cullinan said. "I've been exposed and it has far exceeded my expectations. The more people from the highest level who can see this, the better."

Cullinan said his role has two aspects - to work on cricketing technique and mindset as some of the players are better than currently think they are. "Skill is a factor but confidence and experience are things that can be improved,' Cullinan said. "The players need to be seeking bigger challenges outside of Associate cricket because if they get a bit more competitiveness, such as competition for places in a side, that will improve performance."

One possible avenue for Associate players to gain experience are the T20 leagues currently popping up around the world. "If Associate players perform well, with the amount of Twenty20 cricket around the world now, there is no reason why these guys can't attract IPL interest for example," Cullinan said. "With all the T20 leagues around the world, the door is open to all the players and it would be good to give these players to regular high standards of cricket."

Ryan ten Doeschate is one of the Associate players who has had success in twenty-over leagues. He plays for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL and has had stints in the Big Bash League, the HRV Cup in New Zealand, the Stanbic Twenty20 in Zimbabwe and South Africa's MiWay T20. Meanwhile the Bangladesh Premier League has a rule requiring that each team have at least one Associate player. "There needs to be greater understanding of what is happening in the Associate countries," Cullinan said, "be it players or administrators, so they know what is happening and what talent is involved."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    It is a failure of the imagination to say that associates can not play test cricket. All associates and affiliates should have the opportunity to play 5 day cricket (whether you call it test cricket or otherwise). The likes of the Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, Namibia and Afghanisthan should be grouped together and play each other in three match series with the occasional challenge of a single test against the two lowest ranked full members, currently Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. As it stands those two low ranked teams play, on the whole, fairly meaningless. uncompetitive cricket against the giants. It would be best for the game to have as many equally matched teams playing competitive cricket against one another. The development of nations could be assessed on a biannual basis and teams moved up and down the pecking order accordingly.

  • Rakesh on March 17, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    Bangladesh Premier Leaugue (BPL) administrators must be applauded for making it a rule to include players from Associates. Not having players from Associate as a rule in IPL shows that India owns no leadership in trying to spread the game.Every IPL team must include atleast one player from Associate in playing XI. This will balance out all the teams without affecting competitiveness. and will go a long way in popularizing the game globally. Same thing goes for SA,Aus,WI, SL,PAk,NZ and Zim leauges.

  • Rakesh on March 17, 2012, 17:20 GMT

    Fifty over must have 12 teams at present and T20 must have 14 teams at present. Teams must be increased once more teams becomes competitive in future. This is how t con be competitive as well as help increase popularity over the world Lastly quarter finals eliminated. Top 4 from each group go straight to Semi finals. Quarter finalist is 100 % predictable. Quarters works in Soccer where there are 40 equally strong teams.

  • Rameez on March 17, 2012, 6:03 GMT

    Yes. World T20 should have 16 teams. More teams, better the competition. T20 is a format where associates can cause an upset more regularly than One dayers.

  • Philip on March 17, 2012, 3:52 GMT

    Six associates is about right for T20 (four for 50-over WC). It is hard to fathom how the T20 world cup warrants less than the ODI form (even as an interim measure). If ever there was a form for the minnows, it's in the shorter games. Afghanistan, Ireland, Netherlands, Namibia, Scotland, Canada, Kenya, even Nepal... you need to give them a fair go. They can only improve if they play in the interim (just ask Kenya's WC semi-finalists). Continuity - perhaps the ICC could look it up. They must have a dictionary somewhere.

  • michael on March 16, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    World cricket needs to see the associates and affiliates more often on the world stage. Twenty20 has an important role to play, but so does 50 over cricket, and the top second level countries should should continue to have access to 50 over world cups after the next one in Australia/NZ in 2015, with 14, if not 16 countries being present in both future 50 and 20 over events. Furthermore, test cricket should open its doors to future members like Ireland and Afghanistan in the next few years. Anyone who can't see these two countries matching it with present members like Bangladesh, WI, Zimbabwe and NZ are not really opening their eyes. Test cricket would be a richer game by their addition, and others would surely by encouraged to raise their standards once these two nations entered that top stage. A two divisional or conference structure could develop as test cricket expanded. Cricket at the top level should not be a closed shop.

  • Andrew on March 16, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    The ICC made great improvements in creating a pathway for associates & affiliates, however they haven't gotten past the glass ceiling that they hit when they get to these qualifiers. Kenya was a classic example, they made the W/C up finals in 03, & didn't play any Test sides in an ODI for a couple of years afterwards. It was great that Afghanistan played an ODI against Pakistan - & were competitive. I get a bit annoyed that just because a nation has test status, they should get preferential treatment at the W/Cups. I am annoyed that Afghanistan is currently ranked in 8th position (above WI & Zimbabwe & Bangladesh) AND Ireland is ranked 10th (abov Zimbabwe) - yet they have to qualify. I know most of Afghan & Ireland's games are against weaker opponents - but shouldn't the rankings count for something? I would rather the qualifying tournament be part of the W/Cup - i.e a qualifying round. Top 8 ranked sides are auto qualified - then the top 4 qualifers gain entry.

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2012, 5:25 GMT

    Go Nepal Go... You can do it.

  • Nick on March 16, 2012, 0:21 GMT

    I'm with Cullinan on this one. In terms of ODIs, full members should qualify if they don't make the semi finals. That way, if Associates don't make it, they can't complain of unfair treatment. A qualifying regime also gives them exposure to top level cricket without undermining the marquee event. In terms of Tests, there should be an ICC team. In UAE recently, the ICC team pushed a rusty England and could have beaten them. There is no reason why such a team cannot have test status.

  • wayne on March 15, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    the only way the associates will continue to improve, is more exposure to the top levels. i really admire the BPL's rule about one associate per team. while the BPL might not be the marquee domestic T20 competition, it gives associate players the chance to impress, play alongside good T20 players, and learn. still, that's only part of the job done. it's important that the associates play as a team, and really develop that culture - and while this obviously happens amongst themselves, it needs to happen against the member teams as well. i think they missed an opportunity with the proposed southern hemisphere T20 comp, which would have included domestic teams from Aus, NZ, SA, possibly room for associates too. still, as said above, it's important to develop a cricketing culture, and a handful of associate teams do play in other countries' domestic comps already. when that culture starts to breed success, we might see more of the associates - I hope. once every 2-4 years isn't enough...

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