Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Time to change world cricket order

The present cricket order is in a serious situation of being Hijacked and making it obsolete. Neither it seems to stand in front of local league's like IPL nor it is helping to spread cricket beyond the test bastion. However ironically Cricket stands at a juncture where it got one of its biggest gifts, an innovation which can be a springboard for a global launch. This is the new format known as twenty 20.

Cricket has got various forms as known to most of you-Tests, ODI & Lately 20-20. Test is kept exclusive for presently 10 nations. ODI and 20-20 is extended to few 5 6 more nations. Some nations like Kenya or Ireland though repeatedly have performed greatly even defeating test teams regularly but the test cricket is still a no no for them. On the other hand some Test nations like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe have performed badly not only loosing regularly to other test nations but also loosing to Non Test nations. So why this partial treatment. Favor to Bangla and discrimination for Ireland just because Bangla is a neighbor of all powerful India.

We need to change the system to being more competitive and interesting and also to reward the good performers from the non test nations while punishing the bad performers in Test world. I feel a system of Three Tier should be applicable for world cricket. The top Tier would have 10 teams, Tier 2 also 10 teams and Tier 3 rest of the teams. The team structure in present form could look somewhat like this

TIER 1: Aus, BD, Eng, Ind, NZ, Pak, SA, SL, WI, Zim
TIER 2: Any 10 out of these teams based on performance - Afg, Neth, Ire, Kenya, Scot, UAE, USA, Canada, Denmark, Namibia, Nepal, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bermuda, Argentina, Oman, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, Fiji
TIER 3: Rest of the nations

2 bottom teams of each tier get relegated and Top 2 get promoted to the next Tier. This would make the top 2 tiers very exciting. We would continue to watch cricket in India normally as part of Tier 1 with playing the similar teams. However if we are not performing and are on the brink of relegation imagine the excitement it would add for us. Teams like BD or ZIM would also take their skills levels seriously knowing the consequences. So if BD and ZIM are relegated in the Test form and while Ireland and Afg get promoted, it would give a great exposure to these 2 teams and improve their level of cricket. While BD & ZIM who would have learned some skills playing the big boys would also bring some skills for Tier 2. If now BD does not even perform now and Canada and Zim top the tier, its survival of the fittest.

In this way the Tier 1 & 2 both remain exciting where Big Boys play competitively not to get relegated while Tier 2 teams stretch to get the reward of being along with the top guys.

This Tier system should be applicable separately to all 3 forms of cricket with possibility of separate teams in the 3 Tiers. For e.g. besides big 8 in test at a moment it may be Zim and Ire, for ODI it may be Ken and BD and for 20 20 it may be Afg and USA.

This is the time to act and spread cricket and take it to new heights. I hope ICC takes a note and acts.