Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: OPINION: Is cricket afraid to grow?

OPINION: Is cricket afraid to grow?

The International Cricket Council has ostensibly been charged with the task of expanding the game, but often acts as though its mandate is allowing the full members to retain their elite status.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

The ICC's plans for growth continue to centre around T20 cricket with the hopes of breaking into the Olympic Games.

For the top countries, T20 Internationals make up a small slice of the cricket played and they are often used to blood younger players or the latest franchise flavour of the moment.

And while T20s carry the gospel of cricket to new and exciting places, the associate nations who have long laboured to give the game a truly global feel suffer.

In Test cricket, full members Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe have been excluded from the World Test Championship showing that even full membership doesn't convey equality.

The ICC Cricket World Cup Super League has also got off to a haphazard start with some teams playing multiple series before others have even got off the mark.

As a result of the cancelled ODI series against England, South Africa are yet to get their campaign underway but will launch their efforts in April against Pakistan. Things aren't so clear cut for Holland, who earned a place as the sole associate nation in the league.

The Dutch are only scheduled to play an ODI again in June, and their matches against Ireland have not been confirmed as part of the Super League which serves as a qualification path for the 2023 World Cup.

Part of this is due to the pandemic and part of it is down to cricket's well-established pecking order.

The full members are scrambling to keep their heads above water while the associate nations drift further and further away from the centre of the cricketing universe.

At big ICC tournaments, there are now limited opportunities for the associate members, who have to content themselves with T20I status, while getting few chances to test themselves against the best.

Cricket needs to refocus and find a way to truly expand the game, but cannot do so in an era of cutthroat and self-serving scheduling.

Written by James Richardson

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