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?


David Barry said...

I would not be happy at all with players representing two countries "at once". It would make a mockery of what representing your country is about.

I'm not overly happy that players can move up from Associate to Full Member from one day to the next. I'd rather the six-year (it is six years, isn't it?) gap between representing two countries applied for all countries.

The risk of course is that talented Irish players would refuse Irish selection right from the start of their careers. But would an eighteen-year-old Irish cricketer knock back the guarantee of playing ODI cricket? I don't know....

Jonathan said...

I'm not that comfortable with it, but do you think representing two countries at once is really any worse than the current situation which you describe? The way I see it, all or nothing is better than being stuck in the middle.

No matter what the situation, there are going to be people playing for Test status, rather than their country. If that's happening, developing an idea that the Test teams incorporate a few other areas seems better than simply cutting the smaller countries out of the picture.

David Barry said...

do you think representing two countries at once is really any worse than the current situation which you describe?
Yes, it is worse. The current situation allows one team switch (per six years). This is better than allowing it to happen multiple times.