Thursday, 13 September 2012

10 Countries where ICC should invest in

Cricket has been rapidly expanding around the globe. There are now highest ever 106 members of ICC with another 10 ready to join. There are talks of getting it in Olympics and the IOC chief really wants that too happen

But there is another side. The ICC revenue's primarily comes from one country India. There are not many countries from where ICC earns much. Perhaps the other surplus countries for ICC are Australia, England, Pakistan, Bangladesh & South Africa.

The ICC works on a system where the profit it makes, is distributed amongst the 10 Test Nations and other 96 Associate/Affiliate Members in form of development money. This is in tune of approximately 7.5 M$/Yr to a Test Nation, 0.6-0.7 M$ to Top Associates, 0.4 to HPP Members, 0.1 to Associates and just 0.015 to Affiliate Members. This money is major source of income for almost all the 106 members baring a few named above. Without the aid the cricket in countries would simply collapse.

So this brings in a question, can ICC risk the present structure. In my opinion a big NO & for the following reason- All the eggs in one basket- India. If tomorrow another sport rivals Cricket in India it would directly impact the source of money for ICC and it could be disastrous.

So ICC is like a financial company who should want to hedge it's risk. So based on the factors of Sports Economy, present interest, History of game in all the countries, I have picked a list of 10 countries. Some countries presently are in good shape when it comes to cricket's standing in the country, but might not be very big countries. These countries are like low hanging fruits, where ICC should quickly work, and make the country self sustainable. Whatever little additional income these countries bring would mean ICC is earning and not spending in these countries
The second set of the countries would be where game might have some base, but if established there would bring ICC loads of revenue's

So let me share with you, the 10 countries where ICC should definitely invest for the future

1. Ireland
Obviously it is the first country which comes in mind. 2 successful World Cups, has made news both inside the country and outside. The win over England was covered on the front pages of all the newspapers. It is where ICC should invest in 2 ways, first is to get the team more matches with Test Nations which bring some revenue's and secondly a domestic structure.

2. Scotland
The Scots have really worked hard on the youth and many good players are coming in. Cricket has a strong tradition in the country and the future looks good. Like Ireland ICC needs to get them more matches. Also like the case of Rugby, where Wales, Scotland & Ireland have a combined domestic structure, ICC should work and establish a similar Structure for Scotland, Ireland & Netherlands and if need be extend it to Denmark & Wales.

3. Canada
The game is now well known in the country thanks to the absolute cricket loving 1.4 Million South Asian out of a population of 4%. Just imagine even if another 10% of country starts following cricket it would mean a population more than New Zealand. The game has been making right noises. The World T20 will be broadcast live on a major sports channel. This country needs some focus from ICC and it can be a major revenue earning country for ICC

4. Afghanistan
War ravaged, Terrorism, Taliban. Perhaps not the country you might be thinking for ICC to invest in. But do you know, that it has been one of the fastest emerging team. The Afghans are naturally talented. This can be seen by some of the best talent of Fast Bowlers emerging from the country. It must be noted that the legendary Pakistani fast bowlers are from the same tribes as the Afghans.
War or no war, this country once this teams goes raring there is no stopping. ICC urgently needs to get them more exposure in matches with top nations and their A teams

5. Nepal
The country has one of the biggest following of the game. When the team recently won the ICC WCL Div 4, thousands of fans turned at the Airport to welcome the team. Whenever they play a match in Nepal, 15000 people turn in the stadium.

Such level of crowd support can not be met by many Test Nations. These are placed where ICC needs to work faster

The game is the no 1 game like the other South Asian nations. The biggest investment ICC needs in the country is in form of a Stadium and help them establish domestic structure. With these investment the country can soon join the likes of top nations soon.

6. USA
USA doesn't need any explanations. The biggest sports economy in the world. For Cricket surprisingly the second highest internet earnings come from USA after India!!! The game is presently not in a healthy state in the country because of a pathetic Cricket board whose only job looks to be clinging to power and eating whatever money they have. The ICC investment besides monetary should be to get USACA, their board in order and then things will just flow.

7. Kenya
They had shown promise. ICC did not focus on them and then they lost their way. The country surely has got talent. Their board is now taking some steps to improve the game, but like most associate they also need exposure to better teams.

8. Netherlands
Netherlands can be the gateway of the game into mainland Europe, presently it is limited to British Isles. Netherlands have a strong cricketing culture but ICC needs to help developing the game at junior level and as already discussed help establish a Euro Domestic league involving Scot & Ire. If the game picks here then it is bound to spread to Denmark, Belgium & France. So this country is like the gateway to mainland Europe

9. China
China is the future. It is the superpower of sports. If China takes the game that means 20% of humanity has taken the game and along with South Asia that means half of the world is there. Not only by number of people, China is full of money and ICC can earns loads from here. What does ICC need to do, well simple, get the games in Olympics. We all know once the game is in Olympics China will get everything in it. Besides that ICC surely need to create many Coaching centers and Coached around the country which is the best way to spread the game. ICC would have to invest atleast for 10 years before expecting any returns

10 Argentina
Surprised. Well do you know before the World War, the Argentina Cricket team was almost as powerful as say the Kiwis. They had the largest British Population outside Britain. The game has a long history and at once time the game was more popular than Football. But with ICC's insistence of making members from commonwealth and British expats leaving the country, led to decline of the game.
Now why Argentina, the answer is simple. Cricket has got it's strongholds in all continents except South America. Also Cricket is to make a strong in Hispanic countries. So Argentina is the doorway. If the game develops here, then it has a good chance of taking it to South and Central America.

The ICC surely is doing some work but it is more general in nature. ICC needs to pick up countries as project and close them for maximum impact and let's hope it happens soon.


  1. I totally agree with your argument. Nice article. Everyone should read and support cricket for betterment.

  2. Nice article. Hope for better opportunities to these nations by icc in future.

  3. This is a very well argued piece. As a fan of Irish cricket I would obviously be in agreement with this sort of stuff. They only thing I can think of adding is that in the case of Afghanistan, cricket is potentially a powerful tool in the huge process of healing that needs to happen there. Cricket was central in the fall of apartheid in South Africa. It can be a force for good in the future. Sometimes being philanthropic goes hand in hand with common sense economics.

  4. that's good icc make some good oportunity of thes country to show a talent to the

  5. McGann-Jones- I totally agree with you. I have already mentioned the same many times before. Here is a article I wrote last year on the same thing

    "Cricket can be a peace tool for Afghanistan"

  6. ya icc really need to look for investing in nepal............and developed nepal as a neutral venue as well.

  7. Jashan, interesting discussion. I ran some numbers based on the ICC playing data - particularly juniors - and GDP - which is a good signal of sponsorship potential - of the ICC members and produced the following index, split into groups:

    Populous wealthy nations with weak junior numbers:
    1. USA 2. Canada 9. Japan 10. Italy 15. Germany 21. France 25. Spain

    Low population western nations with existing cricket culture:
    3. Ireland 4. Scotland 7. Netherlands 19. Denmark

    Nepal, a relatively small nation with large playing numbers.
    5. Nepal

    Low population east Asian nations with existing cricket culture
    6. Malaysia 16. Singapore 20. Hong Kong

    Middle Eastern nations with strong ex-pat cricket culture:
    8. Saudi Arabia 11. UAE 23. Kuwait

    Very populous nations with surprisingly strong junior playing bases:
    12. Thailand 13. Nigeria

    China, a special case of massive population, and very little cricket:
    14. China

    Nations with entrenched poverty but significant playing bases:
    17. PNG 18. Afghanistan 22. Uganda 24. Kenya

    The two not-so-well obvious nations that came up in the list are Japan and Nigeria. The first may be a better opportunity than China, although baseball is well established there, they are richer and not short of population. Their women's team particularly has been doing quite well. Nigeria has a huge population and a lot of juniors; they did well in the African T20 qualifiers last time round and are potentially an African giant - as they are in football.

    I am much more dubious on Kenya, who are really struggling on the field, off the field and in the community, right now; and Argentina, who like the Netherlands (sadly) still treat cricket very much as a posh sport. Much better off funding Italy, who, even though they have a reputation for playing ex-pats, have a really dynamic CEO right now, which (as Warren Deutrom has shown) can make a big difference.

  8. Thanks Russ. Very insightful. I totally agree with most of the things, but would surely like to include Kenya. Kenya have recently made some good steps like on the front of Junior Cricket (Schools tournament) and EAPL, EAC. They have a strong cricket culture and the game gets good media attention. I would always like them in as I see them rising again

    Well my 10th choice was between mainly Arg, PNG, Uga, Nig & Italy. As you put the numbers and have shown that many other countries would be better, but I picked it up as a Gamble country. If it is successful then it opens much bigger doors in the world. So that is why it was picked.

    Thanks for your comments. Keep Posting

  9. Interesting choices. I hope ICC will start working on a similar list of targeted countries in which to invest. In the cases of Canada, USA and Kenya, in return for the investment, more should be expected of their cricket boards (better governance, more domestically-trained athletes).

    It is a bit shocking that the Full Members are so short-sighted when it comes to money. They try to get the biggest slice of pie for themselves by keeping the Associates out instead of trying to spread the game which would make a bigger pie for all.