Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Heading beyond the ODI world

There are several teams which have been given ODI status only for their participation in a particular tournament, whether a World Cup, Asian Cup or Champion's Trophy. In the case of the USA, this has meant a total of two games! Now that ODI status is offered to 6 teams for fixed time periods, we have today (in the absence of a upset) Bermuda playing their last ODI for at least the next four years.

They might agree that they did remarkably well to get it in the first place, and certainly did not disgrace themselves from a minnow's point of view, winning nearly half their games against Canada and notching up a couple more solitary victories. It will take a while to forget Malachi Jones's first ODI ball, but I wonder how cricket on the island which refused indepedence will react to have had, and lost, their place in the "best of the rest".

Their opponents in Benoni today, the Netherlands, are more established, but have problems of their own, as batsman Ryan ten Doeschate leaves the WC Qualifiers early to play for Essex. It seems to be a matter of him giving priority to earning a living as a cricketer over playing for his country, which can't really be blamed. If, however, it had been the case, as suggested elsewhere, that a county had not released him for international duties, it would be a real shame, especially considering the fact that the rest of his team would have needed generous support from employers not connected with cricket!

It isn't just the counties that take players from Ireland, though. Cricinfo documents well the strange situation of Ireland's first ODI, where they played against the batsman who most helped them gain it, and were also without Eoin Morgan, in Middlesex as his replacement. Now Morgan has also been named in an England squad.

The extremely understandable motive of Joyce and Morgan to play ODIs and T20s for England is the uncertain hope that it will take them to Test cricket. It makes me wonder whether cricket (that is, the ICC), having this unique set-up and already bending the usual rules for it, should allow players to play Tests while still being eligible for an associate in the shorter form. The pay-rate might still cause problems for the Irish, etc., and indeed the biggest objections may come from the English (or Pakistanis, South Africans, whoever else) in terms of sorting out contracts, coaching and so on, but is they idea really unworkable?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Westward ho!

At work, we are packing for Parramatta. Or perhaps for the new-look Indian cricket team: