Aakash Chopra has lashed out at the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other leading cricketing countries for doing ‘tokenism’ with Associate Members. He said inviting nations like Namibia, Scotland and Oman, among others to World Cups is like giving a “lollipop to a kid” every once in a while.
Don’t Remember Associate Nations only for World Cups – Aakash Chopra
Speaking in a video on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra said if the ICC wants to make cricket a global sport, they’ll have to create consistent opportunities for the Associate nations to compete with the test-playing members and improve. He said, “There’s always a lot of clamor about including more teams in the World Cup and that this is the only way of making the sport global.
But I have a fundamental problem with this… I feel that you are just doing tokenism which is like giving a lollipop to a kid when you take them out once in a while. If you want to do justice with the Associate nations and genuinely bring them forward then don’t remember them only World Cup to World Cup, it’s not Diwali that’ll come annually. You will have to play them consistently and help them get better.”
Associate Nations will get better only with consistent opportunitites
Giving the example of how England haven’t played against Bangladesh in a single T20I match apart from Saturday’s T20 World Cup encounter, Chopra also called out India for not doing their part in playing against the likes of Afghanistan enough.
“I’ll tell you something. The match between England and Bangladesh yesterday was the first T20 match between these two teams and that’s when Bangladesh is not even an Associate nation. England doesn’t want to play with Bangladesh and you are talking about Namibia, Ireland, Oman and Scotland.
We Indians, how many times have we hosted Afghanistan except for a Test match? … So when nobody plays with these teams for four years and they come and get beaten badly here, we say ‘It’s a good thing they have got experience, they’ll get better now’. They’ll get better only if you give them another opportunity to play.”
Chopra offers his advice to grow cricket
The 44-year-old then advised the stakeholders to play triangular or quadrangular series between ICC competitions. He said including an Associate nation in such a series would give the sport the inclusivity it’s always talked about.
Chopra concluded, “My advice is that you should keep aside the bilateral series. Make it a triangular or quadrangular series always and include one Associate nation in it and take it alongside you. If you can’t do that between two World Cups then inclusivity is just a lollipop to suck.”