After the European Under-19 Championship, it was announced that runners-up Scotland would play-off against the Asian Under-19 Championship winners for a spot in the Under-19 World Cup, as Europe had previously had two places in the tournament.

However, when Nepal won the Asian Under-19 Championship, ICC and ACC statements prominently said that Nepal had qualified for the Under-19 World Cup. What about the challenge match?

It appears that Scotland have opted not to play it due to the high costs of flying out to Asia for one match. Three questions arise here:

  1. Why is Scotland, with four ICC approved international standard grounds not being chosen to host the challenge match?
  2. The ICC and Cricket Scotland would have known about this before now, so why had it not been announced?
  3. Why aren't the ICC paying for a match that they organised to go ahead?

The third question is the most pressing, especially given the possibility that Croatia may have to forfeit their challenge match away against Israel for the final place in next year's European Division Two tournament for the same reason.

If the ICC organise a match, it should be their reponsibility to ensure it goes ahead. Instead of throwing money at the likes of Zimbabwe and China, why not pay for these matches? The air fares and hotel bills for around 20 people are not going to be that much of a hit in the pocket for an organisation with multi-million dollar TV contracts.

The ICC have managed to get together a pretty good structure for non-test cricket at all levels, yet they don't seem to want to do the hard work that enables that structure to succeed, whether that is publicising the tournaments, or paying for the matches they organise to go ahead.

Something needs to change.