On Thursday, June 22nd 2017, the International Cricket Council announced Afrghanistan and Ireland as the new full members of the ICC. Means they are now an important part of the cricket now. Also they will be playing test cricket very soon.
Both, Afghanistan and Ireland have a deep connection with the cricket. In Ireland cricket had been living since the 19th century while in Afghanistan, it’s just like every other Asian country, it’s passion. The cricket fever never finishes in Asia and the same goes for Afghanistan. In past few years, both Afghanistan and Ireland have put in great efforts for the development of cricket in their regions. They both have a First Class domestic circuit as well now. It’s obvious that in last 10 years, only Afghanistan and Ireland were the most dominant “Associate” nations in cricket. Afghanistan even produced some quality players like Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Shahzad.
It’s is understandable that both nations have potential to be more competitive in few years but here’s something both will have to work hard on.
In 1992, Zimbabwe got the full member status after their cricket board kept on influencing that test cricket would promote the game in the region. Zimbabwe were a competitive team back then. They had good players. Passionate players actually. They had a combination of good batsmen and bowlers. Rather than that, Zimbabwe was impressive from the start. They played their first World Cup in 1983. They won their first match was against mighty Australia. Yes, Australia was still mighty back then. They had good batsmen and decent bowlers. They were not the best but they were competitive. They drew their first ever test match against India. They won their first test against Pakistan in 1994. Zimbabwe went on to win few more matches. They went on touring every other full member nation and also hosted them. Till 2000 they were balanced. They were doing good. But since 2000, their domestic structure was not much of a good one. They are always somehow out of funds. But that’s also understandable, trying to make a good cricketing enviroment in Zimbabwe was something difficult. Zimbabwe after 2005, did not tour other nations much. It’s been long since anyone heard Zimbabwe tour Australia or England. Or even India.
Zimbabwe got the full membership status, but they were barely playing the top 6 nations recently. Cricketing scope can never grow if a country does not play with every possible opponent. That’s one of the reason why Zimbabwe’s performance has been poor recently. Second, due to not attractive enough cricketing scope in Zimbabwe, many talented Zimbabwians shift to other countries. Zimbabwe really needs to play more cricket with top nations to increase the interest with in the youth.
Coming to Bangladesh, they had a similar scenerio like Afghanistan. A nation passionate about cricket. Bangladesh got full membership in 2000. Today after 17 years, they are one of the most competitive team in the world with consistent improvement. Bangladesh played top 8 nations back to back. They don’t tour or host Australia and England but that’s something which will also be sorted out in the coming times. The top nations should play Zimbabwe every year or two. That’s the only one way cricket can become better for them.
Afghanistan and Ireland are both decent sides and are expected to entertain the cricket world in all aspects. Both should work hard on arranging series with top sides for the betterment of cricket. It would also inspire generations to play the game. Afghanistan and Ireland are expected to play their first test match till next year or maybe even soon. Let’s hope Ireland and Aghanistan does not repeat the mistakes Zimbabwe did. They got the full member status in the most modern cricketing era so far. That means both have quality cricketers to display. A big step in the history of cricket.