x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Minnows must continue to compete in world cricket tournaments

Such lopsided games hurt their cause and critics are bound to question their presence at these tournaments. Shunning them, however, hurts the spread of the game.

The only way teams like Bangladesh will improve is to continue playing the top cricket nations.
The only way teams like Bangladesh will improve is to continue playing the top cricket nations.

In the coming weeks, cricket fans around the globe will again debate the presence of minnows at the sport's premier events. And, sadly, the likes of Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, or even Bangladesh, have done little at the World Twenty20 to sway their critics.

Zimbabwe lost to hosts Sri Lanka by 82 runs and were humbled by neighbours South Africa by 10 wickets; Afghanistan looked impressive in their 23-run loss to India, but against England, they capitulated to a 116-run loss.

Australia beat Ireland by seven wickets while Bangladesh crashed to a 59-run loss against New Zealand.

Such lopsided games hurt their cause and critics are bound to question their presence at these tournaments. Shunning them, however, hurts the spread of the game. They need these matches against top teams to improve, but they need to play them a bit more regularly.

That argument, of course, does not apply to Bangladesh. A full member of the International Cricket Council, like Zimbabwe, they have been playing at the top level for more than a decade, but their results have shown no substantial upwards trend.

Zimbabwe's cricket is in a bit of a flux and they seem to be going nowhere.

Ireland and Afghanistan are both Associate members and their consistent domination of cricket's second tier shows their commitment and enthusiasm for the game, and both teams possess some impressive raw talent.

They just need a bit more experience of playing at this level and that can come only through regular contests against the best sides.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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