Cricket leagues like the IPL and Big Bash, have taken the cricketing world by storm. Huge stadiums filled with enthusiastic fans cheering for their teams is a common sight in these leagues.
Leagues, and Tournaments – Growth Stories
The rise of Rashid Khan, a young cricketer from Afghanistan, in a star-studded Indian Premier League is phenomenal. It is a story of a growing cricketing world and it’s googly that’s got us STUMPED!
The 19 year old leg break bowler, scored 34 runs at a strike rate of 340.00, batting at no.8 in the recent playoff game of IPL11. He sealed the victory for his team Sunrisers Hyderabad, bagging 3 wickets for 19 runs.
As cricket fans gear up for the IPL final, a baseball-crazy Japan steps into a new season of Japan Premier League on this Sunday. An associate member of the ICC, Japan Cricket Association with its own cricket league, could well be delivering the next googly on the world cricket pitch.
This pitch seems to have more turn than ever. Recently turned a full member, Afghanistan secured 9thspot in international T20 leaving behind full member nations, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe.
Afghanistan has set an example like Ireland and Netherlands did in their World Cup appearances. Their googly has attempted to keep the ODI playing nations within their crease.
The European swing!
While Asian countries are riding the cricket wave, Europe doesn’t fall far behind. The 2017 ICC World Cricket League Europe Region Division One saw Germany rise at the top among 6 European cricketing nations.
What followed next was Jersey, an affiliate member of ICC, emerging as Champions in the World Cricket League Division Five. This tournament had its own growth of cricket story to tell.
Ben Stevens from Jersey was the leading wicket taker along with David Hooper from Guernsey with 14 wickets each. Stevens would go on to become the player of the tournament in 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Four, as he dismissed 13 batsmen in 6 matches.
The next stage in World Cricket League is its Division Three tournament. Cricket fans can expect great cricket as six teams, Oman, Kenya, Singapore, United States, Uganda and Denmark bring their A game to this race to 2023 Cricket World Cup.
The journey of these teams who have made it this far, has a lot of reverse swing which if ignored could get the full member nations plumb LBW out!
Oman’s appearances in international cricket for an associate member, are nothing short of an over of six sixes out of the park. After playing their first competitive matches at the 2002 ACC Trophy, Oman made a mark in the 2004 ACC Trophy by finishing second.
The current ACC Twenty20 Cup champions, Oman has won the title twice, tied with Afghanistan on one occasion. Their Twenty20 prowess grabbed eye balls in the cricketing world when they qualified for 2016 T20 World Cup in India.
The Americas – Consistent knocking of the U.S on the international doors
An associate member since 1965, The United States played their first international tournament in the 1979 ICC Trophy in England. Missing out on just two editions, they have enjoyed a ‘USA…USA’ cheer on every occasion of what is now the World Cup Qualifier.
International cricket first applauded a U.S cricket square drive in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy. U.S qualified for the tournament after winning the 2004 ICC Six Nations Challenge.
Ever since their stint at the international tournament, U.S cricket team has won the Division Four tournament of the World Cricket League on two occasions, crowned as champions of ICC Americas Championship in 2002 and 2008, won the ICC Twenty20 Americas Championship Division One in 2010 and 2013.
If this winning streak is anything to go by, U.S could deliver some major upsets to the teams at international tournaments. A possible U.S – Canada ICC World Cup final? Only time will tell. Watch out, cricket fans. The Americas, European cricket nations, along with associate members from Asia, Africa are fighting it hard and certainly reflect the growth of cricket internationally.
Women’s World Twenty20 – A Doosra
Women cricketers around the world are driving on the front foot, as 8 teams compete in Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament in July 2018. These matches have gained full international status, and this means, the tournament surely has some nail biting games, great cricket, and emerging players in store for us.
Ireland, the hosts of 2013 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier won the 2015 edition of the tournament, winning a close game against Bangladesh. They are among the 8 teams competing in the 2018 edition of the tournament. They are a team the cricket fans would keep an eye out for.
After qualifying for the 2015 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier, Scotland Women’s cricket team won the European Championship in 2016 and are all set to compete in the upcoming edition of the Qualifier.
The way ahead – Promising cricket!
More and more teams competing every year for and at the qualifier stage, is an exciting offer for the fans as they get to witness the growing women’s cricket around the world with tickets to the front row.
With more players to root for in the tournaments, more records to set and to break at international level, and ever improving game of cricket around the world in clubs and leagues, cricket is experiencing its golden age, enjoying an ever growing popularity internationally.
Article by Kshitij Ghate, @kshitijghate5