Sunday, 22 December 2013

A case of Parachuted funding for relegated Associates

On 14th April 2011, Uganda played a match against PNG and lost it by 1 run. What was critical about this match was that a win or tie would have made Uganda stay in Division 2 but this loss relegated them to Division 3 of World Cricket League. But this was not the critical part. The critical aspect was due to relegation into Div 3 Uganda no longer was part of ICC High Performance Program. Due to this there was a major cut in the funding for Uganda by the ICC. This first major effect was that the board was no longer able to give central contracts and the players lost out

A loss of ODI status can mean the players losing their central contracts for Kenya

Uganda are not the only case. Seeing the present level of performance Canada, Kenya might be on the verge of losing their ODI status and in return a major cut in funding. The cut is funding can be as high as 80% giving a sudden shock to the boards

Funding related to performance is not a unique feature in cricket. Infact most of the games also follow the performance related funding. In soccer the teams in premier division get more funding than those is the second division. Performance related funding pushes the team to reach higher performance level and for the teams at a higher level it pushes them to stay there and not relegate not to lose funding. This helps the game to increase the level of performance

However in most of the sports there is always a parachuted funding for teams which are relegated to lower levels. Parachuted funding means that there would not be drastic and sudden cuts, rather the cuts would be gradual. This is important so that it does not have a shock effect, rather allows team to settle down in a gradual manner. This in anyway does not mean the team will be sitting comfortably but there is a loss of funding.

So a Parachuted Funding would mean that Kenya if they lose ODI status this time the funding will not drop from 500,000$ to 100,000$ in straight one year, rather it might go to 350,000$ in first year, 215,000$ in Second year and then to 100,000$. This will mean that all the hard work put at ground level will not be washed away in 1 year and the board might strive for alternate resources but never allowing the team and board to be in comfort zone.

In a rapidly changing times for ICC, hopefully they will notice this very important requirement and act on it and not bring a case where a loss of 1 run means whole team losing their jobs.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Time to bring back ICC Knockout

In 1998 ICC came out with a brilliant tournament. It was to be hosted in a upcoming cricket country, give chance to few ODI nations to play in that and in a high octane knock out format, where is you miss the opposition hits. The tournament got a brilliant response from the first tournament in Bangladesh. The second tournament was even more exciting and the Indians defeating the favorites Australia and South Africa lost to Kiwis in the finals. However from 2002 ICC went for a change of format and removed the knock out format with a league system though small in size greatly increasing the number of matches.

Over time the pressure of time forced the tournament to be cut to just 8 teams making it a pointless tournament killing the purpose it was created for. This year in a complete change of tournament structuring, ICC Champions Trophy has been struck off now replacing it with the required ICC Test Championship. They also reduced the World T20 from 2 to 1 in 4 years. This now leads ICC to 3 tournaments in 4 years leaving 1 slot free.

How the proposed ICC format will look using the present ODI rankings. A short and interesting tournament
Cricket really needs to get aggressive and spread it to new markets. ICC Knockout is one of the exact tournament which is one size suits all though in small doses. Being a short tournament it can be easily fit in the FTP, it can be easily hosted in upcoming countries and the upcoming countries can get a chance to compete against Test Teams outside the World Cup and finally the format will keep everybody interested in the tournament. Even if the major teams loses early the tournament is short enough for ICC not to worry it will be dragged on.

Since 2007 ICC based on performance gives ODI status to 6 Associate teams. ICC Knockout gives us a good chance to make it a 16 team tournament with 10 Test Nations and 6 ODI Status Nations. To help spread the game ICC should host it in a upcoming country. It will help to take the game to non traditional markets.

The ICC is also going for reduction of World Cup from 2019 reducing it 10 nations. This leaves with a real possibility of Associate member left high and dry from ODI form of game and reduced to just playing T20 against full members. This is very counterproductive and hence becomes even more important for ICC to reintroduce the tournament.

I hope some good sense prevails in the ICC and we see it reintroduced it from 2018.