Deep Backward Point

Blog against the machine.

Tag: International Cricket Council

The (Lack of) Future Tours Programme

I was looking at the fabled ICC Future Tours Programme to see what’s going on in cricket over the next year:

Future Tours Programme Excerpt: 2011

Each column is the schedule for a single team between April 2011 and October 2011. Notice the two blank columns? Those are two teams who have no international cricket between the World Cup and October.

Those teams are New Zealand and South Africa.

Come October, South Africa still has an interesting few months. They host Australia for 2 Tests and a handful of ODIs, followed by Sri Lanka for another 2 Tests and another handful of ODIs.

New Zealand, on the other hand, has the most dull 2011 in the universe. They play Zimbabwe twice with a tour of Australia sandwiched between. Pathetic.

The Case Against Minnows in the One Day World Cup

Number ten

Ryan Ten Doeschate of The Netherlands (by imogenhardy via Flickr)

Haroon Lorgat, the Chief Executive of the ICC, on keeping the Associate member teams out of the next world cup:

“The 50-over format is more skill-based and suitable for the top teams.”

His argument is that Twenty20 is less skill-based, and so a better format for the less skill-based teams.

This is precisely the argument used to keep Sri Lanka out of Test cricket thirty years ago. I can imagine someone saying then: “Test cricket is a more skill-based format.”

Twenty20 is a better ambassador for the game. It’s a shorter format, faster paced, easier for the casual viewer and an easier sell to a world that is used to watching a game after work and having a result by dinner.

If a Twenty20 match is as one-sided as the Sri Lanka v. Canada game last week, at least it’s over much sooner. And there’s a better chance that a single inspired batting performance can even the scales. Ryan Ten Doeschate is an exciting player when chasing 200 in 20 overs, but is a tragic figure when surrounded by the rest of the Netherlands team for 50.

Lorgat’s point is trite, elitist and careless. Skill has nothing to do with it.

If, after all this, the only time Canada get to play a top team is every four years at a Twenty20 World Cup, then nothing has changed. A refocus to Twenty20 as the ambassador is acceptable only if it’s coupled with a clear path for promising teams like Afghanistan and Ireland to graduate to the big leagues.

Ordered by Lorgat’s mythical skill levels, we currently have six top teams, two close seconds (NZ, WI), two also rans (Zimbabwe, Bangladesh) and then a vast gulf before we get to the rest of the associates.

If the one-day World Cup pool is to be reduced, the single-minded focus of the ICC (besides making money for the BCCI) should be on closing that gulf.

One-day cricket’s acid test

Bhogle waxes poetic about the potential for another insipid world cup, but manages to avoid mentioning the elephant in the room– Twenty20.

If indeed the viewership and attendance tend to be too strongly skewed, if games not involving the top four or five leave people disenchanted, it would mean that the ICC’s decision to have no more than 10 teams for the 2015 World Cup is right.

It’s a tournament planned to maximize television revenue. It’s a form of the game that’s simultaneously too long and too short. A leaner, meaner version in 2015 may be fine, but euthanasia is even better.