An open letter to ICC Chief Richardson

Bhupendra Bhattarai- Dear Richardson, Congratulations on such a terrific World Cup. Yeah you have done it, just like 2011 your 8 big boys have made it, made it to the “evenly matched and competitive” Portion of world cup. Oops almost forgot one of your big3 couldn’t. Don’t worry I have a brilliant idea , a business plan. Let us have a 10 team world Cup with two stages ; Stage one 7 team fight for one spot and meet big 3 in phase two. How about that. Anyway let’s get back to my congratulations message.

Congratulations, that this will ensure at least one of your big 2 will make it up to the finals if not all. And that will keep stadium full and ticket window alongside TV right coming. Great success of game we love, regardless of being an “associate” makes up delighted that “Your World Cup” and our cricket is on.

Congratulation that Afghanistan couldn’t disappointed Sri Lanka and Ireland Couldn’t make best of their start against UAE. Congratulation that UAE just couldn’t cross line against Zimbabwe and Scotland could not hold their nerves against New Zealand. If all or any of these had happened, you would have been pressurized more . But thank God it didn’t . These “Associates” are not competitive enough. Yes they couldn’t cross the line, they couldn’t make it to quarter, how come they are competitive. This is certainly a double standard from you guys, If PAK can be reduced down to 1 for 4 in 2 overs it’s shocking, and if IRL cannot make most of its start against India , it is expected, “they are not competitive enough”.

I wish and pray hard that Your two big 2 boys will make it to final , in a pack 90,000 people at MCG. What a delightful experience it would be for people , millions and millions of lover of game like me. The next day you would be sitting with your members and drinking wine and taking deep breath how successful the World Cup was. It will be start of a new era for 50 over cricket that seem to be dimming its interest down . and on the other side of globe, you will have 11 Irish, Afghan, UAE, Scottish and many more associates player going back to their regular job and saying this is it, we are done. In Fact Porterfield who made brilliant hundred said it “If you want 10 team just you 10 team play cricket”.

Yes, the day will come when you will sees all these rising nation “associate” slowly fading out its interest in cricket. They will no more be interested in persuading career in cricket, the game they love. There is case in hand : Kenya. Yeah we might debeat quality needs to be produced, one batch cannot carry the entire country all the time. True there, but have we done enough to ensure people, kids, youth are attracted toward the game. Coming back to world Cup; you might think why would that happen? Is Porterfield for lover of game like me being over emotional? No we are not, answer is simple, there’s nothing to play for. Well there is Divisions, there is ICC Championship, there is theoretical chance that you guys can make it . Yeap there is, there is everything that you said but there is not enough of encouragement from The governing council of the game for us to persuade those. There is plan but not a practicality. It is almost like a father locking their kids and saying you have internet access the world learn stuff.

On a practical and serious note, your route to world cup for us is way too complicated and lengthy, just in case for all the automatic qualifier for World Cup don’t know, the route of World Cup is worth 4 years wait for associates .. You have to top every division after division and into qualifier and into world cup. But still we associate were up for it . and we have been doing it. Regardless of pathetic performances from Full Member over four years they have automatic qualification to the world Cup. England have not won a single series in over a year, Pakistan have lost 8­10 of their last 12 ODIs leading to World Cup. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe seems to be happy playing and winning each other . But their is no absolute demotions to these teams. This was were I was happy that now with Top 8 Qualifying automatically and bottom two fighting for two spot with other qualifier.

Yup this makes for an exciting contest. Every ODI played now on will have a purpose but have we realized the gap between Top 8 and rest. West Indies sits on 8 with 90 odd point were as bottom two are 40 points behind . If you go by points system it will take 9th ranked team 18­20 straight ODI win to make it to top 8. Between 2011 World Cup till date Ireland have played 11 ODIs. So how would this make for a fair contest.

West Indies have broken into pieces, Pakistan seems to be dimming down day by day and Zimbabwe seems to be digging a hole deeper and deeper . But they still have managed to keep their status (Full Member and ODI). They are living in the glory of their earlier generation but we associates sacrificed everything and miss out to get an ODI status by .001 points. We miss out for qualifier by .5 run rate . How is this fair?

Why Am I ranting about all these ? Yes it comes down to World Cup and limiting it to 10 teams. For whatever reason it might be , this would certainly discourage cricketing nation. World Cup is a big stage . You win or lose it gives a Competitive opportunities and does wonder to the game back home. I have witnessed it. When Nepal got to t20 world cup what it meant to me and my nation. But having said that , I also understand you want Competitive and equally balanced World Cup of 10 best team. There’s petition for pressuring to reverse that decision . I won’t sign it .I won’t voice against your 10 team world Cup. And millions like me won’t , but can you assure us few things .

Get rid of all the points and start with 0 for all nations. Assure equal amount of ODI for next Two years for every nation and pick Top 8 team as automatic qualifier and ask other to compete for remaining two spot. Can ICC do that ? Of course not , coz ICC is blindfolded by Finance. They can arrange useless tri series involving big 3 before World Cup but cannot organize a mini tournament for associate against other test playing nations. So let’s forget that, can use assure that every Ledge Cricket (IPL BPL Big bass) has at least 1­2 team member from associate nations. “They are private League ICC has nothing to do with it” rubbish !!! If you can shut down entire International cricket for 45 days IPL and 30 days Champions Trophy you can for sure do this. Else wise just get rid of bilateral series and play club cricket and friendly nation match , much like soccer does, play one world Cup every Four years and Ask all to compete for the spots. Can ICC do that ? No.

Then Don’t think about stealing opportunity for nation like Afghanistan and Ireland to show their talent and get exposure in world stage . if this monopoly remains, a day will come when another cricket council will be formed and ICC would be left with 3 member. A new council where there won’t be restricted to whom a nation can play or not , a council which won’t level nations based on their financial size, everything will be equal and Competitive . And I believe that day will come if this monopoly continues from ICC .

Again, congratulations on a successful Cricket World Cup. Best of Luck you have made it.

The writer is a film-maker residing in United States. He is the keen follower of Nepali and International Cricket. He tweets at @Utbhupendra

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