Almost everyone involved in associate cricket whether player, coach, administrator, journalist or fan has long wanted to see the ICC give their qualification pathway events a much greater profile.

So, whilst it is a rather overdue development, the recent announcement that they’ll be live-streaming 541 matches across the men’s 50 over qualification pathway and the T20 World Cup pathway for both men and women over the next two years has been very well received within associate cricket.

Those involved in youth development will likely be pleased by the announcement, with some having previously identified that the presence of their country’s national team on live broadcasts could be a driver for recruitment.

Some questions still remain, particularly around how the ICC will promote the streams – their existing promotion of their own pathway events has been patchy at best in the past. There’s no point streaming these events if the ICC are not going to publicise them to help them gain a wider audience, both in the participating countries and beyond.

A reasonably high production value will be necessary to catch eyeballs outside of those who watch almost any stream involving associate nations. The commentary team(s) need to be made up of people who are familiar with associate cricket. All too often the commentators at the global pathway events broadcast through the ICC’s Star Sports deal have been ignorant – sometimes insultingly so – about associate cricket.

The big variable though is, of course, Covid-19, which has already caused the postponement of the first three CWC League 2 series that were scheduled this year. The calendar is a busy one as it is, and any further postponements could well mean that some events have to be shrunk, overlap so that not all can be streamed or even cancelled all together.

Even if the full slate of 541 games doesn’t happen, the increased exposure will surely bring a slew of benefits to the 80 associate members involved.