Despite their promise to review the 10 team World Cup the ICC confirmed their decision to contract the tournament this month. Given the broadcasting rights had already been sold this should come as no surprise, but fans and players across the world have been vocal in their disappointment. It confirms the fact that short term revenue trumps long term financial prospects for the game under current ICC governance.
The ICC finally ran out of patience with the farcically run USACA who have been suspended. The USA will however be allowed to compete in the T20 qualifier. They will need to undertake remedial action to address fundamental governance issues before they will be re-admitted. It is a sad but desperately predictable outcome. US cricket remains a conundrum, plenty of promise but riven with flaws and missed opportunities. But congratulations to Serbia who became an affiliate nation.
There was however positivity around the re-commencement of the Intercontinental Cup, that has more interest this year thanks to the promise of the test challenge that follows for the winner. New Irish coach John Bracewell has said playing test cricket is a focus for the team, in spite of the decidedly uncertain pathway now in place. They have the calibre to be competitive in the longest format and Ed Joyce scored a monumental double century against the UAE to emphasise the point. Other leading associates struggle to make scores of over three hundred, not surprising considering the lack of multi-day cricket played domestically and the increasing focus on T20.
Another disappointment came with the news that some of the most dynamic associate players in the shortest format won’t be on show at the T20 qualifier. Matt Machan has opted to stay with Sussex while US star Steven Taylor was awarded a CPL contract after a successful trial, along with Canada’s Nikhil Dutta. A bizarre episode saw Scotland first omit and then recall the dangerous Kyle Coetzer. You can’t blame the players for taking opportunities to play professionally, but it is critical that the best players are available for this showcase event, that will be broadcast across the world.
Fixtures have come thick and fast of late across all formats with the I Cup, World Cricket league Championship and T20 warm ups. The Dutch have been in a rich vein of form securing WCLC victories against Papua New Guinea, including a maiden List A ton for captain Peter Borren, and a dominant display in the T20I series against Nepal. Stephan Myburgh has been their star and will undoubtedly be one to watch at the T20 qualifier. Max O’Dowd has come into their squad and former proteas star Roelof Van Der Merwe is now available having secured a dutch passport. There are some in Holland who would rather a home grown talent was given a chance. Their Under 19 squad features a De Leede and a Van Troost, familiar names indeed.
In addition to Joyce and Borren there have been some other significant personal performances and milestones. Assad Vala made a century on his first class debut as Papua New Guinea defeated The Netherlands on their I cup bow. Ireland gave debuts to Tyrone Kane and David Rankin, Boyd’s brother, in the T20I series against Scotland, that also saw Bready host international cricket for the first time.
And finally 2015 is proving a historic year for Jersey. Having progressed to the T20 qualifier for the first time in their history they recently defeated Kenya in a T20 friendly.