Cricket in emerging markets
You may or may not have heard but New Zealand has entered into a partnership with Cricket USA to assist in growing the sport over there.
It took me by surprise but it shouldn't have. The Kiwis have been pioneering new ways to grow the sport for years. This is just the latest effort.
I think they should be congratulated, with Sri Lanka, in thinking about the game on a global scale. It is too easy to focus internally and purely look how you can maximise the returns from your domestic market. In moving out of their comfort zone, I hope it has set a precedent that other nations/teams will follow.
The US and Asia are the two markets that can lift cricket to the next level and I think the time and effort needs to be invested in these territories.
India and Pakistan have staged matches in Toronto, Sri Lanka and India have made themselves available in Zimbabwe and Australia have played international matches in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, however, I think there needs to be a more concerted effort to ensure the game’s best players are continuously taken to these new markets to help break down the walls and grow the sport.
The ICC is doing a good job through the World Cricket League, but, as a sport, I think we can do better.
Wouldn't it be great if we had a truly global World Cup with countries playing off to qualify like in Soccer?
The Champions League could be the perfect vehicle to assist with this development. Maybe the second tier teams could enter national teams into the Champions League?
Imagine an Asia/Pacific T20 league where each country gets to sign players, as in the IPL, and them competing for a spot in the CL, now that would be exciting!!