Associate Cricket: EurDiv3 Review, WCL Div8 Qualification, Census news
Russell Degnan

Catching up again...

The European Division 3 T20 qualifiers in Estonia was a small affair, with just three teams and six games. It was also relatively predictable, as the home team won their first three games to move into division two. On the plus side though, most games were reasonably close, and Bulgaria's upset win in the final game meant the tournament avoided a perfect table.

More interestingly, the tournament came with online coverage, streamed from the delightful Hippodrome with trotters roving the background, and a small group of onlookers. The standard is not great. The fielding is sloppy, the bowling mostly slow and occasionally erratic, and the batting sometimes veers towards slogging - albeit sometimes very effectively. That is not universally true; Tim Heath demonstrated his class again, with 182 runs at 180. There is a lack of depth in squads too, meaning some players really stand out. But it was still entertaining cricket. What ultimately matters is that the games were keenly contested, and although Estonia were the best side, that was true throughout the week.

With a number of non-ex-pat players in each team - particularly Bulgaria - and playing well, this was an excellent advertisement for cricket in its infant nations.

A few steps up the ladder, La Manga played host to the European qualifiers for WCL Division 8. Belgium won out, thanks to their 3 wicket victory over France on the opening day, and although qualificaton was assured regardless, they snuck past Gilbralter by only a single wicket in their last match. Austria cam in last, but except for a 107 run loss to Belgium they competed throughout. Division 8 will be held in Samoa from 17-23 September.

Also in scheduling, the ICC doesn't keep their website updated with regard to scheduling, burying it in news articles. Last week, Africa Div2 Two qualifiers were postponed a second time, this time to October 1-4 in Benoni, South Africa. This was (apparently) done to avoid the aforementioned WCL Div8 and WCL Div4, scheduled for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 3-10 September. The previously scheduled date in August wasn't actually clashing - unlike the posted date for European Div 2, and the, as yet redetermined, August date for Africa Div 1. Hopefully more reliable information will be forthcoming.

In a final note, the ICC quietly released its Census data a few weeks ago. The numbers are interesting throughout. A few points I got out of it:

  • The ICC uses total participation as their headline number, but it is an erratic measure, marked particularly by PNG moving from three thousand to 117 thousand other involvement in the past few years. PNG are doing very well, but tripling senior involvement to six thousand is more impressive.
  • Kenya have been dragged back to the pack in terms of playing numbers with Namibia, Uganda and Nigeria all roughly equal at 800 seniors, 2000 juniors. Zambia and Tanzania are closing too. This is consistent with on-field results. Players playing consistently is what matters.
  • No surprise then to see Namibia record 705 senior players and 2405 juniors. They have 35 grounds. Ten years ago those numbers were 360, 150 and 12.
  • Some teams reap huge rewards from World Cup involvement - Scotland and Ireland both doubled senior and junior participation this decade with big jumps after appearances - Netherlands have remained static.
  • The recent performances of PNG, Afghanistan and Nepal will be sustained given their depth; look for Germany, Japan and Singapore to start moving up the tables, and to a lesser extent, Spain, Norway and China.

On the down-side, the USA (and to a lesser extent Canada) are not leveraging their huge playing resources to drive junior development. I tweeted how staggeringly bad the United States is going on this front when this report was released:

  • The USA has 16.5% of all senior assoc./affil. cricketers. And 0.9% of all juniors.
  • The global ratio of senior to junior players is 1.27. The USA has a ratio of 22.24. Excluding the USA the global ratio would be 1.07.
  • The USA has 481 grounds, and 750 juniors. 34.7 senior and 1.6 junior cricketers per ground.

There is good work being done there, particularly through the USYCA. Hopefully that wil start to reap dividends because they can do much better, on and off the field.

Idle Summers 8th July, 2012 13:05:22   [#] 


Associate Cricket: EurDiv3 Review, WCL Div8 Qualification, Census news
Nice numbers there Russ. What's going on with Namibia? Do they get much help from South Africa?
Lou  9th July, 2012 12:09:01  

Associate Cricket: EurDiv3 Review, WCL Div8 Qualification, Census news
Lou, they've got some good young players, particularly batsmen (actually they are all all-rounders, 1-11). Hopefully they can leverage their success to grow the sport; at the moment they seem to be doing so. A small but professionally run administration. They get more help from South Africa than most places get from full members. They field a side in the RSA amateur first class competition; the results aren't great, but in a way you want that while developing - sets them a challenge. In many ways they are like Zimbabwe was in the 1980s, on and off the field.
Russ  9th July, 2012 22:09:12