The nasty side of associate cricket on social media

That social media can, at times,  be something of a cesspit shouldn't be news to anyone. But it should still be called out and whenever an associate member posts a picture of their cricket team on social media, or even a list of player names it is almost inevitable that a depressingly familiar slew of responses occurs.

"Looks like an India B team"

"Not many natives in that team"

"More like an Indo-Pak XI"

Often followed by laughing emojis as if they're the first person to think of this "hilarious joke".

This happened most recently after the announcement of the USA squad for the inagural Women's Under-19 World Cup in South Africa next month. There are valid criticisms of the squad such as the inexplicable omission of Lisa Ramjit, but the ethnicity of the players is not one of them. It should be obvious to all reading this, but you can not tell someone's place of birth or where they play most of their cricket by looking at their name or skin colour.

In this case, given that it's an Under-19 team, even those who qualify by residence will have moved there as children and so are not moving to play professional cricket. Even for senior associate teams, nobody is moving to most associate members to play cricket. Despite the several "Dear Sir, I am an all-rounder" messages that any associate cricket social media account, associate members are not recruiting people from India or Pakistan to come and play professionally.

Very few associate members have the privelege of a long history of cricket played by locals. Development has occurred in fits and spurts and cricket remains a migrants game in the majority of associate members. There are valid questions about how good a job some associate members are doing at promoting the game amongst the "mainstream" population. But the national team is naturally (and arguably should be) made up of the best players and is not necessarily indicative of the level of development going on in those countries.

That associate cricket is more visible now than ever is undoubtedly a good thing. But it's brought with it a rather ugly side dish of racism and xenophobia.

An interesting development in the USA

Major League Cricket is making moves again in the US as they prepare for their first season next year, though it is always wise to follow the Peter Della Penna mantra of not believing a US-based league is going to happen until a ball is actually bowled.

News this week is that the league have entered into a partnership with George Mason University - based in Virginia but very much part of the greater Washington DC area - to study the feasibility of a multi-purpose facility designed to host both cricket and baseball.

Whilst baseball grounds have hosted cricket exhibition matches before - most notably the Warne v Tendulkar all-stars series back in 2015 which was held at three Major League Baseball stadiums - this would be the first facility specifically desigined to host both sports.

With Major League Cricket likely to be a short season (by US-standards) league, multi-purpose facilities are going to be the way to go in major cities, so this is a very welcome development and I look forward to seeing the outcome of the study.

Turkey lose an unwanted record

To steal/borrow a line from Daniel Beswick of Emerging Cricket, a Turkey has been saved just in time for Christmas. The Turkey national side no longer holds the record for the lowest score in men's List A T20 cricket.

Their previous record of 21, set against Czech Republic in Romania just over three years ago, has been beaten (if that's the right word) by Sydney Thunder who could only manage 15 against Adelaide Strikers in a Big Bash League game on Friday.

Perhaps it's time to consider whether matches played by Sydney Thunder should really count towards the record books. Maybe they should spend a few years playing grade cricket before they're allowed to play in the Big Bash League again.