‘A’ Team Cricket and Global Integration

In one of my previous articles, I was talking about the need to promote ‘A’ team cricket around the world. I firmly believe that the ICC, which is the global governing body of the game, needs to play a better role in this regard. I think that there needs to be a global tournament for ‘A’ teams of the test playing countries. I think the schedule could be organized just like as it is done in the upper levels such as tests and one-dayers. At the present moment games at this level are being played on an ad-hoc basis – some countries are playing it while others are not – and this needs to stop.

At present, the ICC has a tournament named the Intercontinental Cup for the best associate and affiliate teams like Afghanistan, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, Namibia, Kenya, UAE and Canada. I think the ICC can fuse these two tournaments and create one where the ‘A’ teams from the test playing countries can play among themselves and with these countries in a home and away basis for a period of say 5 years. This will be beneficial at several levels for both the teams.

For the senior teams, this will mean more games for players who are contracted to represent the national team but do not play enough games to make a good case. The matches here should give them that opportunity to keep themselves fit and ready for the bigger battles ahead as and when chance comes calling. For the players from the smaller teams, it will be an invaluable experience as they will be getting some games against a level of opposition that is several notches better than what they are normally used to. Over the years, these teams have been saying that they are not given much opportunity to test themselves against the better opposition and are mostly confined to playing each other that does little to boost their confidence or improve their skill sets.

This certainly does not help their cause as they lose against the full member teams owing to lack of experience, which can only happen if you test yourself against the best or, at least, ones who are significantly better than you. However, I do understand that it is not financially and logically feasible to have such a competition across all formats but, at least, a first class version of it can be arranged. I sincerely think it is time the ICC did this if it really wants the game to be truly global and not restricted to a bunch of English colonies.