• T20I status for all, but no magic wand

    On 1 January 2019, the International Cricket Council granted T20I status to all member men’s teams.

    In July 2018, all women’s member teams had been granted T20I status.

    The ICC did not expand their infrastructure or membership, but bestowed a long overdue status to its many associates and affiliates.

    Having T20I status doesn’t always guarantee quality, but it is a little charming that the Czech Republic hold the joint record for the highest score in the format.

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    A glance at the scorecard suggests the Czech Lions were far too strong for Turkey when they met in the 2019 Romania Cup. The Czechs smashed 278-4, primarily powered by a brutal ton from all-rounder Sudesh Wickramasekara.

    Wickramasekara completed his century in just 35 balls, equaling David Miller’s world record.

    The Czech Republic had made their international debut just hours before in a match against Austria.

    Turkey were without many of their regular squad due to visa issues that prohibited them from travelling to Romania. As a result, they hold several unwanted records. These include the most ducks in an innings, the largest-ever defeat and the shortest completed T20I innings.

    It is matches like these that should let the ICC know it has lend a helping hand to their less-established members, improving their game not only on the field but as organisations.

    Granting T20I status to all members of the ICC hasn’t waved a magic wand that makes every one of those unions fully professional.

    The ICC has a total of 104 members, but only 87 of them have earned a ranking.

    Cricket’s global governing body has built its growth strategy around T20I cricket, but need to be wary of the implications.

    When the announcement was made in April 2018, then ICC chief executive officer Dave Richardson said: ‘We are particularly pleased with the unanimous agreement to award all T20 bilateral games international status and the move to create a global ranking system for T20Is.

    ‘We are committed to growing the game and T20 is the vehicle through which we’ll do this and removing restrictions and having all members ranked is a positive step forward.’

    The game’s elite members supported the decision to hand T20I status to all members, but they haven’t been willing to engage in direct competition with the bulk of members.

    For full members, engaging associate nations for bilateral series makes very little financial sense and won’t until the ICC finds a way to make more of their number competitive.

    T20I status may have been extended to all 104 members of the ICC, but the game won’t be genuinely global until the majority of teams are thoroughly professional.

    Photo: Gallo Images

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