An ICC press release issued today talked proudly about how 1.4 million people are now playing cricket in their associate & affiliate members. There are reasons to be sceptical about this figure, but even if it's true as the playing numbers are increasing, the opportunities for these players are - despite what the ICC are fond of saying - decreasing.
So if during the World Twenty20 Qualifier, or at any other time, you hear the phrase “more opportunities for associates” or any variation, just look at the following table:
|Event||Start of decade||End of decade|
|World Cup||4 guaranteed places||0 guaranteed places|
|ODI Rankings||6 allowed to be on rankings||2 allowed to be on rankings|
|World Twenty20||2 guaranteed places every two years||6 places in preliminary round every four years|
|Intercontinental Cup||14 matches per team in each four year period||7 matches per team in each four year period|
|World Cricket League||8 divisions||6 divisions|
|Regional tournaments||Almost every country playing regional 50 over and/or 20 over cricket||20 over cricket only in most regions and much fewer teams allowed to play|
More opportunities for associates? You be the judge.