Monday, 12 December 2011

ACC T20 is over but what about Asia Cup

The Afghan's won the ACC T20 for a record 3rd time. The tournament has been held just 3 times and each time the Afghans have emerged winners (Though the first time joint winners). The Afghan's have been doing everything right in cricket but does it really matter. First they started with the dream run of qualifying to the World Cricket League Division 5 and from there qualifying to the World Cup Qualifiers barely just missing the world cup spot though gaining the ODI status. Then they grabbed just 2 spots for ICC World Twenty 20 becoming the first associate so do so. Then they won the Inter Continental Trophy as well as Asian Games silver. This couldn't be anything better than this. Adding to this the Afghan's have proved that they are cut above the rest by winning all ACC Tournaments they have been playing.

The ACC Champions:Afghanistan (c)Asian Cricket Council

Now we ask shouldn't this team be playing in the Asia Cup. Surprisingly the big four of Asia say no. The Asia Cup has been known to give a chance to the Asian Associate irrelevant to their standing at World Level. Even when Bangladesh was not a top Associate Globally they still got to play in the Asia Cup several times. They were pathetic but still the teams never had any problems. Then the Asia Cup became more considerate with it including the top 2 Associates. Both times UAE and HK got a chance. But come 2010 this has suddenly changed.

The 2007 WC Expierence has brought in hell for Associates. With India and Pakistan both losing Associates rather than Complacency was being blamed for that. in 2010 the Asia Cup was reduced back to 4 from 6 a huge step backwards. Time has being given as a reason. Due to this fact the 2012 Asia Cup is again a 4 nation tournament.

The Asia Cup is a revenue earner for ACC besides the huge 50% Allocation they get out of ICC Development fund. The big 4 nations just get a participating fee. With BCCI becoming more and more arrogant over time this meant the small participating fee seemed too small. Adjusting to a 6 nation tournament was simply impossible and ACC needed money. Hence they had to agree.

The Associate nations have been asking for a few set of matches. The only difference between Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland or Afghanistan is that the first 2 get 7.5% Share of Funding which is about 7 to 8 times more than the latter 2. The First 2 also get a chance to earn through the tours of various countries like India, Australia or England while the latter 2 simply do not get it. This has made even Bangladesh arrogant not to play against team like Ireland or Afghanistan very well knowing that a defeat would bring questions on their test status. So it rather prefers not to play rather than playing a Afghanistan or Zimbabwe

So in such a condition what should ACC do. The answer is very simple. The ACC wants the Asia Cup for money and if possible for exposure to new countries. So what is the format that brings most money and also is recognized globally as a tool for expansion. Yes my friends you are right the answer is T20.

The ACC should consider making the Asia Cup a T20 tournament. This solves many of their problems
1. It is much more easy to adjust in busy schedules of India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka since T20 takes less times
2. T20 gives possibility of higher incomes
3. More teams can be adjusted in the tournament
4. The tournament gives ACC a chance to expand the game into more nations hence widening the possible income stream
5. Less wear and tear for the players

Hence the answer is clear. It is high time Asia Cup cup for 20 overs now. It should be a 8 team tournament with top 4 Associates joining the 4 test nations. T20 games can be more competitive with more chances of upset which makes the whole thing interesting. The tournament should have 2 pools of 4 each followed by semi's and finals.

After the present tournament the line would have been

Pool A:- India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal
Pool B:- Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Oman

This would mean both Afghanistan and Nepal have a chance to prove a point against Bangladesh and the Bangla's cannot take it easy. Similarly a resurgent Hong Kong and Oman will have a expeirence they will never want to forget.

It is said life goes in circles. The ICC was a closed house then they expanded by adding 3 test nation to present 3 then closed door outside commonwealth then opened to new nations as Associates then kept the test nation guarded as 6 then expanded the cricket to increase membership to 105 and 16 nations world cup before closing. Now it is time for expansion. I hope it comes soon and cricket goes with the market and not as a communist system.

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