Opinion: ICC World XI no place for has-beens

Fielder throws cricket ball in

Jonhenry Wilson looks at the problem's with ICC's 'World XI' set to take on the West Indies later this month.

It's great and generous that the West Indies and a so-called ICC XI are meeting for a one-off fixture at Lord's to bankroll hurricane relief later this month.

However, it's tough to comprehend why the match has been granted Twenty20 International status, especially given the composition of the ICC XI. That said, this is - after all - the same governing body that recently gave T20I recognition to 100-plus nations elsewhere.

The team features two international retirees and a fast bowler who snubbed a New Zealand contract in search of the flexibility and riches offered by lucrative Twenty20 leagues around the globe.

Indeed, Luke Ronchi and Shahid Afridi have ended their respective New Zealand and Pakistan careers (although one never knows with the retractive Afridi), while Mitchell McClenaghan is more interested in turning out for the Mumbai Indians, St Lucia Stars and Sydney Thunder than he is playing for his country of birth.

Are these really the type of cricketers the global body want representing the international game? The rest of the outfit, meanwhile, is represented by players from Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and England. No Australians, South Africans, Zimbabweans and other - hardly a 'world' XI, then.

Granted, player availability would have been a sticking point for selection, but one feels a better effort could have been made to collect a more representative and relevant XI to take on the two-time World Twenty20 champions.

It smacks a bit of last year September's Independence Cup, which saw another World XI sent to Pakistan for three T20Is. Irrelevant names like Paul Collingwood, Grant Elliott and George Bailey jetted into Lahore, testing the security measures of a city and country that hadn't seen fully-fledged international competition for several years due to terrorism concerns. The cricket was not incidental or contrived, but again, could have afforded the hosts more significant opposition.

At least this year's showcase will have a trio - Ronchi, Afridi, McClenaghan - privy to relatively recent T20I game time, rather than a threesome - Collingwood, Elliott and Bailey - who hadn't played the international game's shortest format for a year or more prior to September 2017's jaunt.

There is little reason the Windies shouldn't walk away with a comfortable victory. The fanfare of it all should play right into Chris Gayle and company's hands at a packed house at the home of cricket. One trusts a spectacle rather than a damp squib, as can happen at these affairs lacking genuine cricket context, is delivered.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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