England: The Defender Of The Limited-Overs Weak, And Their Part In Saving Cricket With A 14-team 2015 World Cup
While other Test nations looked to pull up the ladder, England alone extended the hand of friendship to the ICC’s affiliate nations, saying to the minnows of the cricketing sea: give us your poor, your huddled masses, your overweight part-time police officers-cum-offspinners, your trainee accountants who can hold up an end, your farm labourers who will give it a good whack if it’s in the slot. Come to us, united in cricket and fellowship… and you can beat us at the next ICC World Cup. The decision to allow Associates to World Cup 2015, taken in Hong Kong this week, is vindication of England’s vision.
Only England recognised that the best way to encourage a burgeoning cricketing nation is to let it humble the old colonial inventor of the game on the biggest stage of all. Just ask Bangladesh. Or Ireland. Or Australia (assuming they ever get any good again). Already, a crack ECB delegation (Gilo) is scouting ICC Americas Division IV, and has identified Costa Rica as the nation to give England an embarrassing bloody nose at ICC World Cup 2019, with a view for Andy Flower’s hit-and-miss Limited-Overs outfit to tackle the proud sons of the isthmus in a pair of five-Test, seven-ODI, home-and-away series by 2022.
The events at the ICC conference this week have proved that England are right at the cutting edge of cricketing administration and that we are heroically fighting a lone battle against worldwide indifference to cricket, meddling from video replay-phobic Indian wonks, and the ongoing catastrophe of West Indians playing basketball. Already, Luxembourg, Sierra Leone and Qatar are being investigated as possible successful World Cup opponents, with new cricketing converts Qatar even keen to host ICC World Cup 2023 (slogan: “We don’t know much about cricket, but we know what we like about money”). Only through the efforts of the ECB, and England’s dodgy 50-over side getting rolled over by part-timers, will cricket ever truly become a global game.
All England asked in exchange for saving the future of cricket was that Samit Patel be allowed a runner, and it is typical of the short-sightedness of the same body that wanted Ireland locked in a cupboard under the stairs that they refused.
By Alan Tyers
Check out CrickiLeaks: The Secret Ashes Diaries, by Tyers and Beach, here