Cricket has grown into a global phenomenon, with T20 cricket greatly widening its appeal. While the number of nation-states with full Test status remains relatively small, the debut of new T20 Associate participating nations has played a critical role in growing the sport’s exposure and attraction.
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What Is the Global Presence of Cricket?
Cricket has a presence in many nations across the globe in various forms. The International Cricket Council (ICC), the organization that is in charge of permitting countries to participate in formal matches throughout the three primary cricket formats, currently has 106 national teams affiliated with it.
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The International Cricket Council (ICC) has recognized 12 full member countries as able to compete in official test matches as of 2022. These original members, along with the years they joined, are:
- Australia (1909)
- England (1909)
- Ireland (2017)
- South Africa (1909)
- Zimbabwe (1992)
- India (1926)
- Pakistan (1952)
- Sri Lanka (1981)
- Bangladesh (2000)
- Afghanistan (2017)
- New Zealand (1926)
- West Indies (1926)
The ICC was founded in June 1909 with Australia, England, and South Africa as founding members. Australia and England played the first formal test match in Melbourne in 1877, while South Africa debuted in 1889.
In 1926, India, New Zealand, and the West Indies joined the ICC as test-playing nations expanded. Following South Africa’s expulsion from international sports in the 1970s, the list was briefly limited to five before Sri Lanka gained entry in 1981.
South Africa returned to international cricket in 1992, while Zimbabwe joined the ranks the following year. Bangladesh, which is well-known for its cricket prowess, was granted full ICC membership in 2000.
After a long interval, the twenty-first century saw significant improvement in Afghanistan and Ireland’s cricketing journeys.
Following their success in limited-overs cricket, these two countries were granted full membership in 2017, making them the most recent recruits to the exclusive group.
Countries Affiliated for One Day International (ODI) Cricket
The first additional roster of nations comprises those formally entitled to compete in one-day international cricket. They are listed according to their geographical location, and they are as follows:
- United Arab Emirates
- Papua New Guinea
- United States
Many of these teams have competed in One-Day International World Cups, leaving their imprint at this level. In 2019, Scotland won a spectacular victory over England, underscoring their potential for full membership.
Historically, the Netherlands has been the most formidable, appearing frequently in ODI World Cups and gaining a big victory against host England in the 2009 T20 World Cup.
Namibia is another tough squad that has qualified for the T20 World Cup in 2021. Nepal and Oman show promise for the future, with both countries nurturing talented young players.
As for the other nations on this list, their ongoing development is intriguing, and their progress in the coming years will be closely watched.
Comprehensive List of Associate Cricket Nations
The addition of T20 cricket provided an enormous lift to the sport on an international scale. The high-speed, action-packed style of T20 matches attracted an entirely new audience, especially benefiting countries in the process of nurturing cricket.
To encourage this expansion, the ICC granted T20 international status to a varied range of nations, recognizing any worldwide matches they play as official T20s. The following countries are listed in this category:
- Saint Helena
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Hong Kong
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- Czech Republic
- Isle of Man
- United Kingdom
- Cayman Islands
- Costa Rica
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- United States
- Cook Islands
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Falkland Islands
The majority of these nations joined the ICC in the late 1990s and beyond, but the list has grown fast since the introduction of T20 cricket in 2003. Many of these countries have a rich cricketing history and have produced some excellent individual players.
China and other Asian countries are growing their investment in cricket, while the launch of Major League Cricket in the United States in 2023 will benefit the country’s huge population. Mainland European countries such as France, Switzerland, Germany, and Luxembourg are gaining visibility through televised continental leagues.
Because these teams usually compete in official T20 internationals among themselves and rarely face full member sides, there are few dramatic upsets in the T20 arena featuring associate nations.
Nonetheless, a growth-oriented system is in place to help them climb the ICC rankings.
Final Words: The Expansion and Vision of Cricket Sports
The ICC has made a prudent decision by incorporating numerous countries as affiliated T20 teams. It’s evident that these teams might not be prepared for test cricket at the moment, but by providing them with official competitions, they are motivated to enhance their cricketing skills.
This setup makes it possible for these teams to go through the system. With this framework in place, the ICC can play a critical role in fostering global cricket growth.
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