photomontage of fielders at silly point

Growing domestic cricket: then and now

 

-a blog by andruid:
On the 6th of June* in Kenya, a country that is considered by many among the leading nations in the game outside that test world, two 3 day matches will begin between four franchise teams known respectively the Northern Nomads, The Southern Stars, The Western Chiefs, and the Eastern Aces. While the headlines have largely been dominated by the emergence of the Twenty/Twenty format in general and more specifically the arrival of the hugely money spinning cricket leagues known as the IPL and its ‘evil twin’ the ICL, this relatively smaller and largely unreported event marks a clear break from the stereotypical images of a handful of semi-talented amateurs knocking a ball about that is so often attributed to cricket outside the test world.

‘why bother writing about such a relatively low key tournament considering that all the movers and the shakers in World cricket are so fixated with the IPL, that its even been considered that a special place for it in the Future tours programme has even been proposed? Quite simply because unlike any of these other domestic tournaments the Sahara Elite League, a significant forward step in the spread of the cricketing gospel in that it will involve, for the first time since 2000 that First Class cricket is introduced in the domestic structure of a cricket playing nation, and the first time in a long while that this will happen without the prior attainment of Test status in a long long while.’

The tournament itself while not commanding the millions of dollars, glamour or talent of either Indian league, will mark the climax of the debut season of the tournament known as the Sahara Elite league, a tournament established by Cricket Kenya which also involves competitions in the 50 over and t20 format of the game. So why bother writing about such a relatively low key tournament considering that all the movers and the shakers in World cricket are so fixated with the IPL, that its even been considered that a special place for it in the Future tours programme has even been proposed? Quite simply because unlike any of these other domestic tournaments the Sahara Elite League, a significant forward step in the spread of the cricketing gospel in that it will involve, for the first time since 2000 that First Class cricket is introduced in the domestic structure of a cricket playing nation, and the first time in a long while that this will happen without the prior attainment of Test status in a long long while. It is in light of this potentially epic development in the world of cricket that this blog seeks to understand the fundamentals of organising growing and developing a successful and viable domestic competition using case studies based on info kindly availed by provided by dome of my fellow bloggers. Our First Study will be the top ranked nation in both the one day and the Test version of the game Australia.

Australia:

In 1891-92 the Earl of Sheffield was in Australia as the promoter of the English team led by W. G. Grace. The tour included three Tests played in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.

At the conclusion of the tour, Sheffield donated £150 to the New South Wales Cricket Association to fund a trophy for an annual tournament of intercolonial cricket in Australia. The three colonies of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia were already regularly playing ad-hoc matches which were very popular.

The new tournament commenced in the summer of 1892 with the three colonies playing for a silver shield named after its benefactor.

other teams joined

Queensland: 26,27
Western Australia: 47/48
Tasmania: 82/83.

A total of 6 teams which i believe is the reason for Aussies dominance. Such competitive games that the cream is always at the top. the best playing the best week in week out. It interesting to note that nearly as many Australians play Cricket as in England but the domestic league is a lot smaller. concentration of quality.

Sheffield shield is also a 4 day contest which culminates at the end of the season with the top two teams playing each other. Every team plays each other home and away for a total of 10 games. The top team has the advantage of the home game and only has to draw the match to be crowned champions for the season. It is worth noting that the final is 5 days long so the ome team can struggle to draw.

-Information courtesy of leigh

With Australia it is evident that at the point of introduction of the game the more traditional 4 day first class format was used and the teams involved were all based on geographical regions. It must be noted as, being probably only the second of the current major powers to adopt the game that in making multi-day cricket the centerpiece of its premier domestic cricket and in finding a balance in the number of team to ensure highly a competitive tournament the Australians have not been lacking in the sort of high calibre, super-competitive cricketers that has brought them that much success in the Test and 50 over versions of the game.

Our second study is India. A country famous for having probably the largest and most passionate base of cricket supporters as well as its most high profile individual talents.

India

The Irani Trophy

Named after the late Z.R. Irani, who was associated BCCI from its inception in 1928, till his death in 1970.The fixture is always played between the previous year’s Ranji Trophy winners and the Rest of India Team.Traditionally marks the start of the Indian domestic cricket season.

The Ranji Trophy

Named after Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji (also known as “Ranji”).Is the domestic first-class cricket championship
Most of the teams represent states of India.
There are teams that represent individual cities such as Mumbai or Baroda.
And teams that have no regional affiliations, such as Railways and Services.For the 2006-07 season, the divisions are labelled the Super League and Plate League.The Super League is divided into two groups of eight and seven teams
The Plate League is divided into two groups of six teams each.In both divisions, the top two teams from each group advance to the knock-out phase.
The finalists from the Plate League are promoted to the Super League the next year while the two teams at the bottom of the Super League are relegated.

The Duleep Trophy
Named after Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji (also known as “Duleep”)Is a domestic first-class cricket competition.
Played in a league formal between teams representing the five geographical zones of India.From the 2003-04 season onwards,
the five original zonal teams competed along with a sixth guest team which was a touring foreign team.

The Deodhar Trophy

Named after Prof Deodhar, the Grand Old Man of Indian Cricket Indias list A cricket tournament.
Played on a league basis between teams representing the five geographical zones.
Each match 50 overs in a one day format.
The Challanger Trophy:
The Tournament features three teams India Senior, India A and India B.
The teams are made up from the top 36 players in the country.
It is played with the intentions of showcasing the countries bench strength
and to provide the young players the opportunity to display their capabilities.

-Thanks to Chinaman

With India, undoubtedly a country with the largest human and financial resources as far as any of the major cricketing nations, goes there is an abundance of high profile cricket tournaments all of which are named after important individuals withing the history and the traditions of Indian cricket. This models obvious strength is the abundance of popular support for the game meaning there is relatively little difficulty in finding cricketers to play in the competition. Also notable is the affiliation of most of the teams involved to specific geographical location both in the regular competitions eg. The Ranji Trophy and the more elite franchise competition, the Duleep Trophy as well

Our third study is The West Indies, which although is not representative of any single country, is a team that is a combination of several politically independent nations under one banner and off course ensuring that the best players from all these separate nations are selected then it is necessary to select for there to be a competition that spans across all the nations involved.

West Indies

Unlike the other established cricket-playing nations, the Caribbean’s domestic competition is of very recent vintage. The Shell Shield, which featured an annual league format, started in 1966 with matches between Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica. Prior to that, cricket was played regularly in all Caribbean territories, and ad hoc matches were played between Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana before WWII. The logistics of travel prevented Jamaica from taking part regularly, but that changed with the Shell Shield.

Eventually, the regional competition expanded to include the smaller islands of the Lesser Antilles, who first competed as the Combined Islands. They eventually split into two separate teams, the Leeward Islands comprising the northern islands, and the Windwards the south. Now, the domestic competition includes a four-day league, a one-day competition, and just recently, a 20/20 competition.

Any player who wants to make it into the West Indies team has to excel at the regional level, where the cricket is classified as first-class cricket. However, in the Caribbean, first-class cricket is not played as regularly as it is in England, Australia, South Africa and India, and that may explain why the quality of the West Indies is not on a par with these four countries.

-Courtesy of Mikesiva

So which of these three examples is the most suitable for introducing a high quality high level domestic competition in a new cricketing nation. A West Indian type model would certainly be best suited to a situation where the teams involved would have to travel considerable distances, or across various political boundaries to compete with one another will probably cost more to run and would only work where the objective is to raise the quality of the game across several nations which are in the same region. The Australia model while requiring less teams and players to get going requires that these few teams are truly the best in the country to ensure that quality of cricket to ensure that the players that do emerge from the competitions are indeed the best that country has to offer. The structure in India while it is far reaching and probably the most inclusive of the three premier competitions looked at here also requires the largest amounts of personnel just to run in order to isolate the best cricketing talent in the given nation and in the case of a country which simply does not have that many cricketers the the system is not workable.
With the ICC’s global development set up mainly geared to making sure that Associate and Affiliate cricket teams get to play more representative cricket against one another and even formally creating a structure through the World Cricket leagues and Intercontinental Cup which all these teams have a path to challenging Test nations on the highest stage, what model should the ICC or the governing cricket bodies in these countries encourage to make these teams competitive when they come out to play against the big boys?

Note: Since the first publication of this blog unfavourable weather has caused Cricket Kenya to re-schedule its 3 day tournament from the last week of March to early June.*

 

 

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