The International Cricket Council’s faith in associate member teams was vindicated by their recent showing in the T20 WC, development manager Tim Anderson has said, singling out the Netherlands’ upset win over England.
Six ICC associate member countries - Ireland, Afghanistan, Nepal, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands - took part in the T20 WC in Bangladesh, as part of the governing body’s efforts to expand cricket beyond the 10 Test-playing countries.
The Netherlands humiliated England by 45 runs in the Super-10 stage, while unfancied Hong Kong fulfilled their dream of getting a big scalp with a two-wicket victory over Test team Bangladesh in the first round.
Anderson said the Netherlands’ victory over England, their second in two meetings after also beating them in the 2009 T20 WC, was a good sign for next year’s 50-over World Cup which will feature four associate teams.
“The Netherlands performed very well and their win over England in the Super-10 stage showed the smaller teams have the talent to upset bigger nations," he told AFP on a flight back from the tournament.
“The associates were provided with an opportunity at the T20 WC and we are pleased with their showing, and will make sure they do well in next year’s World Cup," he added.
Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates will join the ten full members in next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Each team has been allocated $1 million in funding and will train in the host countries ahead of the tournament.
Afghanistan’s qualification was seen as particularly noteworthy, with the war-torn country rising rapidly through the ranks after becoming the ICC’s 37th associate member last year.
Anderson said Papua New Guinea could be the next major success story.
“PNG is a great story and they have now earned one-day status, and we are sure they will further progress with around 10,000 local players and a good base for the game. Some of their players are now contracted with the Big Bash in Australia," he said.